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Kramnik Wins, Sort Of

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Vladimir Kramnik beat Peter Leko in game 14 to draw their match and keep his classical world championship title. Kramnik joins Lasker, Botvinnik (twice) and Kasparov in the list of defending champs who retained their titles by virtue of draw odds. Quite a few people, only partly joking, said before the match that between these two conservative players having draw odds would likely be decisive.

Bad news for Leko, good news for Kramnik, bad news for unification. (Good news that we don't have to see the Danneman logo with the misplaced white king and queen for a while.) Kramnik keeping the title drops unification chances down close to zero, at least if Kasparov beats Kasimdzhanov in January. (If Kasimdzhanov wins it rises to maybe a ten percent chance.) Kramnik was dragged to the table in Prague in 2002, signed under duress, and wants no part of anything with Kasparov that would put his old rival on equal or near-equal footing. (E.g. no long qualifier, no draw odds.) Kramnik's reasons are not unreasonable and they have been well covered over the past two years, but sign he did.

Kramnik and Brissago match director Joel Lautier run the ACP, so the organization's first post-match statement about unification is eagerly anticipated.


Dear Mig, I am really surprised that you are so "anti-Kramnik". Is it your opinion that it is Kramnik, who is responsible for everything?! And who are the good guys? (I need the names, please!). Of course, the Prague Agreement is dead now, as an agreement. (Just re-read it and you will be convinced). But answer please, who benefited from it so far?

only one person has benefited and another is clinging to some faint hopes of benefiting big in the unlikely event of the agreement being honored:

Kirsan benefited by remaining relevant for about a year and a half in unification of WC talks. Kasparov tried to pull a fast one by insisting equal status with Kramnik and would benefit tremendously if the agreement is honored, but the the inherent absurdity and unfairness of being seeded directly and Fide's inability to organize a match in timely fashion have caused the likelihood of the agreement being honored to be almost nil.

Now only Fide, Kasparov and Mig are keeping it alive .. Fide to remain relevant, Kasparov since it gives him a nice payday against a weak opponent and a faint chance of a match with Kramnik and Mig because of loyalty to his former employer. Mig's main argument happens to be, however unfair the agreement, it is better than nothing. While it had a little merit so long as Kasparov was playing at 2800 strength, with his recent bad performances, his seeding has no merit anymore.

It is interesting that the architect of Prague (Yasser Seirawan) himself has declared that Prague is dead.

yes , mig, pls do more jabs on Kramnik. Hopefully he'll responce and play a real WC with someone higher rating than him.

I fully agree with Mikhail and gansy. The unification plan is irrelevant, unfair, much delayed, and had number of violations by other parties. With Kramnik winning, it is as good as dead. As mentioned earlier, many other influencial people like Seirawan have also pronounced it dead and have come up with alternate plans.

Instead of focusing on the KK match, FIDE should work with Kramnik to work on a new candidates cycle that is fair, representative and shouldn't drag on forever. Otherwise FIDE and Kirsan will be upstaged by ACP and Lautier.

Unlike, Mig, I feel that Kramnik's stand is more pricipled than opportunistic. He doesn't fear Kasparov and seems concerned about leaving out other top players for a long time. I believe his stand is supported by most players.


*Structuring a world championship without a limit on the number of games runs into the problem of a match that could theoretically last forever. (See Karpov-Kasparov 1984). Rapid tie-break games ruins the integrity of a match which is supposed to determine who is the best player at standard time controls. Draws odds are annoying but there's nothing better.
*I found it difficult on the Danneman logo to determine which piece WAS the queen. In any case, many thanks are due to Danneman for sponsoring the match. As there are so few of them, let us treasure our sponsors.
*It may be premature to write off chances for a reunification match. Let's wait for the ACP's announcement on the subject.
*And most of all, let's congratulate both players on a wonderful match. We cannot expect every game to be a masterpiece. It is the overall struggle which compels interest, draws and all. At least three unforgettable games: Leko's spectacular smashing of Kramnik's prepared variation in Game 8. Kramnik, on the ropes near the end of the match, trying to win with black, playing an aggressive Benoni in Game 13 but not able to break through Leko's inspired defense. And Kramnik's fine victory in Game 14.
*I missed the analysis of Shipov and the enthusiasm of Danny King from London 2000 and hope that these two characters will return for future world championship matches.

I'm also really surprised I'm anti-Kramnik! Could someone please point out the parts of my post that are "anti-Kramnik"? Do I say anything untrue? Do I say anything biased? Where are these "jabs"? I even said he arguments weren't unreasonable. You guys are getting really bizarre. Did anyone above actually read the post or did you just write the usual BS first? All of Kramnik's comments about unification, FIDE, and Kasparov are on public record. My pointing them out doesn't make me anti anything. I'm pro-unification.

The Dortmund candidates tournament, like Prague, was in 2002, but apparently it didn't "expire." I don't understand why everyone is suddenly so eager to throw Prague and FIDE in the garbage. Where were your cries for a new, more democratic qualifier to replace Dortmund 2002? It took *two years* for Kramnik-Leko to happen and when it finally does, everyone is gaga over the flavor of the month. As if Danneman is any more the savior of chess than Braingames and Einstein were.

Somehow you guys are acting as though this is some democratic movement. "Leaving out other players"??? In 2002 they used a traditional eight-player tournament as a candidates event. Two years later they find a sponsor for a match. How many players have benefited? At least the FIDE KO was open for qualification and helped many players, as idiotic as it was to shut out the Israelis.

I'm no defender of FIDE, as they would be quick to point out. They screwed up the Kasparov-Ponomariov match and have continued with these ridiculous "better than nothing" KO events. That doesn't mean an international organization should be thrown away, especially since there is nothing to replace it. I have hopes for the ACP, but you can have hopes and still think at the same time. Actions speak louder than words.

I'm delighted that Kramnik-Leko finally happened. I'm happy they found a sponsor and both the organizers and Danneman deserve thanks. But before you start clamoring for a new qualifier, ask what Tripoli was.

I agree that Kasparov's seeding based on rating (ostensibly, although we all know fame had much to do with Ilyumzhinov's attraction) is irksome, especially since he hasn't played that well in the past year. But your various statutes of limitations are arbitrary and unhelpful.

Be careful what you ask for. Abolishing everything (rating list, FIDE champion, etc.) without anything to take its place is useless nihilism.

You like playing with words don't you Mig? Anyways...

>>"Could someone please point out the parts of my post that are "anti-Kramnik"?"

-> "Kramnik keeping the title drops unification chances down close to zero"

Kramnik wanted to play the Dortmund qualifier and wanted an inclusive qualifier for the match after that. After long discussions in Prague he finally agreed to give Kasparov his seeding into the semi-final - basically giving him a free rematch - so as not to torpedo unification. If he didn't want unification, he would simply not have signed the Prague agreement. Prague is still going forward, albeit with a long delay in the schedule.

So far nothing has indicated that he will dodge Kasparov if he defeats Kasimdzhanov. So you are jumping the gun making statements like the one quoted above, which therefore can only be classified as "anti-Kramnik".

>>"All of Kramnik's comments about unification, FIDE, and Kasparov are on public record."

Please quote Kramnik in a way that supports your claim that unification is toast if Kasparov beats Kasimdzhanov.

Prague dead ? I'm shocked that some people do sign documents and pretend they don't agree with all this stuff after all.
If this is the way professional top chess players intend to increase their credibility, they need a reality check, urgently.

It's my opinion, based on Kramnik's actions and statements, that he does not favor any unification with FIDE. Why is that "anti-Kramnik"? You guys build strawmen so fast I don't have the time to burn them all down.

The amusing part of this is that even those of you who say unification is dead and that Kramnik should ignore it criticize me for making the case that unification is near death because Kramnik will ignore it. Enjoy your cake.

I'm glad you guys were all in Prague with me so you can help my memory of what happened. Kramnik signed in Prague because his backers at Einstein knew he/they could be screwed and left out in the cold if Kasparov and FIDE got together. I believe Kramnik had/has the best intentions, but they didn't lead him to sign in Prague, which he considered damaging to his intentions!

Kramnik has since criticized Prague in various interviews (Sport Express, ChessBase, New In Chess). I think Prague is better than trying to start from scratch, but I respect Kramnik and his opinions. This is why all this "anti-Kramnik" garbage pisses me off. I simply disagree with him.

The Chess world is looking forward to the unification match. It does benefit the Chess world and elevates the status of WC title. Without Unification, we have 2 WCs which is already a great confusion to many in the Chess world. Just imagine about outside the Chess world. Many still think atleast in the West that Kasparov is the WC. Which means total of 3 WCs we are looking at. So its will be great if we go ahead with this Unification match where only one can claim the title as always been since the first WC. Very strange at this point, why Yasser is not supporting the Unification. Afterall he is the one who started this Fresh Start.

I’m amused that Kramnik feels that it is a matter of principle that Kasparov should not get a free ride into a match with him; remind me by what meritocratic process he gained his own shot at the title. Kasparov has much more to lose than Kramnik in playing a unification match. He’s an old man now, and clearly has a life outside of chess. A loss to Kramnik would leave him with the unappetising prospect of a long qualification path (under FIDE?), which I’m sure would push him out of the game (and towards the Russian Presidency, maybe). Kortchnoi, he ain’t!
Kramnik, on the other hand is a much younger man with the whole world at his feet, the future will ineluctably be his; I just wish he’d play more.
Kasparov surely deserves his rematch; his rating, his contribution, and his genius all make him the right candidate. Let’s get the Kramnik Kasparov match finished and done with, and get on with business. The history of chess is littered with champions ducking the best candidate (Alekhine-Capa etc etc); Kramnik has his own reasons for not giving Kasparov a rematch, or at least delaying it until Kasparov gets bored and quits.
p.s. mig doesn't need me to be an apologist for him, (he does a pretty good job in defending his position) but this crap about his posts being pro-kasp and anti-kram is just pathetic. Try re-reading the words that are written and not some non-existent polemic between the lines.

Prague agreement was never an agreement.Very few playaers were consulted and it was essentially to facilitate back door entry to Kasparov and a way to more legitamise the tittle of Kramnik as his results at that time were nothing to boost of.It is unwise to call something is dead when it was not even born.Nobody, (save kasparov)including chess will loose if this doesn't take place.Chess gets legitamacy only when players like Anand,Moro,Topolov along with Kramnik,Kasparov,Leko are given equal footing and fairchance .To achieve this you need not have to years or discuss forever.Just ignore few psychopants.
(Edit:This post should appear here but I posted it in a different topic.Hence I am just pasting here too, and I dont know how to remove the samepost elsewhere.)

Hi Mig,
It would be interesting for you to have an interview with Kramnik after his match with Leko. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm sure most poeple are :). Is there any possibility it's going to happen ?

Shipov was in great form commenting on-line on all the games at www.chesspro.ru (& giving a detailed analysis later each day), but only in Russian.

Mig or others have not bothered to explain why they consider the Prague agreement to be still valid and what will be achieved (other than further delays and back-door entry to Kasparov) in honoring it? It shouldn't be honored just because it was signed. As Mikhail said, read it and you will be convinced that it is dead.

It certainly won't bring in fairness and closure as even now the likes of Anand, Pono, Moro, the Israelis etc. are left out. It will only add to the bitterness and unpleasantness. The best best way out is to start with a new, fair and inclusive cycle ASAP.

Mig is right in saying that Kramnik is least inclined to honor the agreement. And he is right as it is no longer valid and doesn't serve any useful purpose (other than reward the unholy alliance Kasparov stuck up with Kirsan). Why are others shedding tears for the agreement that even its architect (Seirawan) considers dead?


Costello Kramnik won the title the only way it was possible to win it for the seven years before he did. He beat kasparov with all terms decided by Kasparov including draw odds and Kasparov having an extra game with the white pieces.

I'm fine with Kramnik playing Kasparov. As a chess fan the more matches the better. However, IMO there are far too many players that may be as good or better than kasparov Kramnik and Leko who haven't had a fair opportunity to compete for the world championship for 13 YEARS!!

The last time most of the top ten players have had even a *shot* at winning the real world championship would have been when the short v. Kasparov candidates cycle began. @ 1992! Its been about 13 YEARS since there has been a fair system in place to compete for the world championship!

Judit Polgar: would have been about 16 years old.
Morozevich: would have been 15 years old
Topolav: was 17
Adams was 21
Svidler 16
Shirov 20

Now, of course, these players are @13 years older! Some of these guys may be playing thier best chess now and/or will have already played it without ever gettign a shot at the title! Just BS single elimination KO crap shoots is all FIDE has given these players! Doesn't anyone care?? Oh we hear about all the old time greats who played thier candidates matches but FIDE has failed our current players long enough. IMO this is a travesty and the most important thing is to get a decent match cycle going. Lets let some of these players have thier historic matches as well. I can't say anyone of these players isn't as good as Leko and Leko Tied Kramnik. These guys deserve a shot at the real title.

So yeah Go ahead Kramnik play Kasparov after he beats someone 160 rating points below him.(what a yawner) But this event is far and away much less important than making sure the above players have some sort of fair match system to show whether or not they can prove they are actually the best in the world.

There must be pressure on all parties includign ACP FIDE Kramnik Kasparov and Kasim to get a fair 2nd cycle established and underway. This is the real issue not the long delayed and dragged out first cycle which was created for reasons that are irrelevant now.


The Danneman logo take was legendary - a WCC with an incorrect billboard. I spit coffee on my keyboard once I saw it. Thanks for making my morning.

To all this discussion I want to add the following question: What, exactly, are your priorities?

My priorities are this.
1. Create a unified world championship title of classical chess. Meaning - one under the jurisdiction of FIDE and supported by the ACP.
2. Create a candidates cycle that is reliable, fair, and fully inclusive. It should be something that top players can plan their training and schedule around.
3. Do the above in as timely a fashion as possible. As a corollary, the next candidates cycle - and the one following - should be under planning now.

If these are your priorities then a Kramnik vs. Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match is the most important goal to encourage today. Remove unification as the top priority and matters change dramatically. This I believe is what lies behind those who complain of Kasparov's semi-final seeding. Okay then, so you don't want a unified title? No, yes? If yes, then why oppose the only foreseeable way of reaching it? Title unification is the most troublesome problem facing chess today. The rest follows.

As for Seirawan declaring the Prague Agreement dead -- was this statement not before the announcement of the Danneman and upcoming FIDE matches? Things were indeed looking grim at the time.

If Yassar still has the stomach for it, I suggest he re-engage is considerable talents of negotiation to set a plan for the future. He already has fielded concrete suggestions for the next candidates cycle. He understands the needs of sponsorship and has also demonstrated a willingness to gather opinions from GM players and modify his ideas accordingly. This is the kind of person I want to see representing chess.

Better than bickering endlessly about the present, let us first find our priorities and then work towards them.

"http://www.chessbase.de/nachrichten.asp?newsid=3173" there you read:

Press conference in Hamburg before the WC:
Er (Hensel) und die beiden Spieler (Kram and Leko) bekannten sich klar und deutlich zu den in Prag 2002 beschlossenen Plänen zur Wiedervereinigung der Schachweltmeister, mahnte jedoch auch die FIDE zu raschen Einhaltung und Durchführung ihres Teils.
(short: Before WC: Kram and Leko said yes to the prague agreement)

Kramnik and Lautier run the ACP!?
Could somebody comment on this?

Item: 259 for the Dannemann WC logo.
(by the way: spelling DannemaNN)
Look also at item 264: nice questionary!!

Plis, don't be breaking out with your 2 n's. No one gives a damn, dam, or damm.

Prague is not dead, because the parties are still following it. Kramnik was to play the winner of the Dortmund qualifier, and he did. FIDE was to hold another KO world championship tournament, and they did. The winner which and that is now scheduled. If Kramnik refuses to play the winner of Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov, then Prague will be dead. Not before.

It is true that Seirawan declared the Prague Agreement to be dead, not because of any particular authority he had, but simply because it appeared that none of the matches were ever going to take place. I suspect that if we could ask him now, Seirawan would concede that there has been more progress than he expected at the time.

Some of the points being made here are red herrings. Whether the Prague Agreement was a "good idea" is beside the point. Good or not, it's what the parties agreed to at the time. It's true that Kasparov is no longer playing at top form, which is the unfortunate consequence of the long delays since the Agreement was signed. Age has finally taken its toll, and at this point I doubt Kasparov can ever regain the unified title. But we might as well go through the process and settle the matter once and for all.

A number of people are pining for an old fashioned candidates cycle. I agree, but this has nothing to do with Prague. It's just FIDE's dumb way of choosing a world champion these days.

I agree with everything johnk said in his post, both as to the priorities and the importance of unification.


mikeinthedistrict - nice......
pliscon, give it a rest

Marc you got it wrong Prague said Kasparov plays Pono. Without the agreement of any of the other parties Kasparov and FIDE decided they did not need to follow prague and that they would unilaterally decide to have someone else play Kasparov. They might as well have decided Kasparov will play my grandma for his semi final. This isn't the way binding contracts work anywhere in the world.

The prague agreement also had various deadlines missed by all parties which almost certainly makes it unenforcable.

The priority is to have a legitimate WC cycle in a reasonable amount of time. That is the *only* priority. FIDE can do whatever they want and there can be a unification or not. All of that doesn't matter to me in the least. All I want is players who have been denied a a chance to compete for the real world championship to FINALLY have that chance in a credible system.

Kasparov should be thankfull he started playing his best chess in 1983 instead of 1993. Becasue if he was 21 when FIDE had these ridiculous KO blitz fiascos he may never have been world champ at all - it may have been whoever was rated 56th in the world instead.

I predict what will happen is FIDE will put off what they will propose as the second cycle. Then at the last minute will try to force it down the champions and everyone elses throat. It will end up a big CF like everythign else they touch. Then people like mig will say well its not perfect but its better than nothing.

FIDE has shown bad faith on this agreemnt not only for what was stated above but also by not establishing this second cycle and even *attempting* to get it approved in a timely fashion. I hope Kramnik stands his ground and absolutely refuses to even discuss playing unless this 2nd cycle is agreed by all parties involved - Including ACP which is the only way that other players have a voice. Otherwise it may be another 13 years before we any of our top players have a legitimate shot at the real world championship.

If FIDE doesn't propose the terms of the second cycle for approval by a certain date then ACP should establish thier own cycle that involves real match play and real time controls and never look back.

Congratulations to GM Vladimir Kramnik, World Chess Champion.

Congratulations also to GM Peter Leko for a well fought match.

All in all, I think it was a great match.


You are absolutely wrong.FIDE KO and Dotrumund qualifier have nothing to do with Prague agreement.They were to happen with or without Prague.Infact Dotrumund qualifier was decided before Prague agreement(That was how Anand,Ivanchuk etc. have missed a chance to play there as they were supposed to play under FIDE umbrella).And FIDE had conducted KOs every year for three(or 4?) times before Prague.After prague even those KOs have been delayed.You call this everybody following Prague?Come on my friend.It was ,is an eveil paln conceived by few ego-maniacs.There will not be any unification which will not involve atleast 8 of top 10 players.If you guess that the two missing are Kasparov and Kramnik then you are right.look beyond those guys.You can see Moro,Topo,Anand,Swidler,Shirov,Bareev and the list goes on..

After the Unification match, for the next WC cycle which format FIDE is going to follow: Candidates cycle or KO? What is Kirsan's stand on this?

1) Kramnik is on the board of the ACP. Lautier's the President. There's a difference, but it is quite clear he's involved in the organization quite a lot. (Kasparov, on the other hand, hasn't yet ponied up the 30 Euros to join. Myself and Miggy have, I dunno what Kasparov's hold up is.)

2) I don't see why Tripoli isn't part of Prague. Ponomariov (or more rightly, Mr. Danailov) refused to play Kasparov, so they found a new a champion. Re-unification works with the FIDE champ, whether it be Karpov, El Khalif, Anand, Ponomariov or Kasimdzhanov.

3) FIDE's history gets "erased" if Kasparov beats Kasimdzhanov and even makes 1 move vs. Kramnik. I don't get why Kramnik would duck such a match, after all, it's a pretty damn good payday, plus, it legitimizes his title historically. Then again, maybe he doesn't give a flying flounder about these things.

I can't keep up, but a few comments.

The Prague agreement was never intended to be an enforceable contract. It was always about the spirit of the thing, and even says so in the agreement itself. At least half the posters here have clearly never read it or the reports about it written at the time.

Prague wasn't about holding a qualifier. It was about unifying the title as soon as possible so the next qualifier could be for the unified title. There were too many people with vested interests and big egos to get them to follow the original "fresh start" plan with various steps. The 2001 FIDE KO was used as a qualifier post-facto, with Ponomariov as the candidate. The rating list was used as another, with Kasparov the world #1 and candidate. Dortmund had already been announced as a qualifier for Kramnik's title, and it was incorporated.

This was all very hasty and somewhat slapdash, but in a way that was the point. Cut corners, twist arms, make concessions, lose face, whatever to get the damn title unified and make the next big event a qualifier for the real, revitalized title.

Then Ponomariov-Kasparov fell apart (twice), Kramnik-Leko took two years, FIDE had to hold a new KO or just disappear, and any momentum for Prague was lost in the mess. But it's a huge error to act as though it has somehow expired. It was always about the commitment of the principals toward unification for the greater good. Not only is that the original language of the agreement, but everyone involved (Kramnik, Kasparov, Ilyumzhinov) has talked about that spirit.

The problem has been using the specifics against the spirit and going on endlessly about the details of what was supposed to be a quick fix. (Devil, details, etc.) Kramnik about Kasparov and "democracy" (eight players is democratic, 128 is not), Ponomariov about draw odds and free days, etc. Kasparov has been relatively quiet other than complaining about the other guys' complaints, but since he got the best deal out of Prague that's not surprising.

When it's pouring you can't complain about a few holes in the umbrella if it's the only one you've got. Well, you can complain, but you should still use the umbrella.

In response to my posting niceforkinmove wrote:

> The priority is to have a legitimate WC cycle in a reasonable amount of time. That is the *only* priority.

Had you exchanged the definite article "the" with the personal pronoun "my" I think your upbraiding would be easier to digest. Still, thank you for stating your premises explicitly. That's what I sought to unearth.

Your next task is to convince Mig and company that your priority is "the only" priority. Until then you will find few people swayed, myself included.

Mig,thanks for admitting one way or other, that Kasparov got undue advantage(you should have also mentioned at whose cost?), hence the silence.And Prague was done IN haste, hence only the spirit counts.So far so fine.Now if the spirit is to unify the tittle then why cant Fide champ and Kramnik play it out.Why anybody be so eager to bring Kasparov in.Well you may say he was one of the partis.So was Ponomariov.One was not in picture, remove another one too.

kasparov would attract more media attention and potentially more sponsors. i do think he was seeded unfairly, but i think it might be a lot better for the publicity of the match.

Really.So, we decide who should participate by their media attention capability.Then why this fuss all about.Just declare that guy as Champion!

" FIDE's history gets "erased" if Kasparov beats Kasimdzhanov and even makes 1 move vs. Kramnik. I don't get why Kramnik would duck such a match, after all, it's a pretty damn good payday, plus, it legitimizes his title historically. Then again, maybe he doesn't give a flying flounder about these things."

I keep hearing this thing about Kramnik needing a match with Kasparov to legitimize the title ... where did that come from ... he beat Kasparov fair and square in 2000 and the latter has been unwilling to go through a qualifier to play the champ on the specious grounds that Kramnik didnt have to go through with it ... Same is true with Anand .. he turned down Dortmund to honor a FIDE clause and then FIDE sent him to the cleaners by signing Prague. Kramnik's title is the real one and he DOES NOT NEED A MATCH WITH ANYONE TO LEGITIMIZE IT. Anand and Kasparov, for their own reasons turned down the chance to play for the title against Kramnik. Now let them wait for the next cycle. If Kramnik gets a big payday by playing Kasparov / Anand / Kasimdzhanov, that is his prerogative. But he does not need it to legitimize his title.

After the mess by FIDE (partly caused by Kasparov), I would rather let the ACP organize the next cycle, so there is a title defense by 2006 / 2007.

The agreement speaks for itself. It is short and written in english.(or perhaps translated into english)

Its true Kasparov never really said if he would accept Ponos terms. Does anyone else find that odd? You would think that if there is a match between two people necessary for unification and one guy wants certain terms you would at least *find out* if the other player objects. What should FIDE care as long as Kasparov and Pono agree right? This match will be unique and so doesn't set a bad precedent for future matches. Why then didn't we hear from Kasparov? Well I guess FIDE took it upon themselves to act as Kasparov's agent. Kasparov didn't need to speak on these issues FIDE aregued his case for him. How nice.
So now we don't have John Fernandez saying Kasparov and Pono couldn't agree on terms, we have him saying "Pono refused ot play" I'm sorry but Pono always said he is ready and willing to play. Pono never said he refused to paly Kasparov. FIDE acted miserably in gettign the match underway. I won't address all the details as they have been hashed out many times before. I will add however there is no doubt Pono was foolish too.

Now then about the spirit of the Prague agreement. Well Kramnik seems to be the *only* one who has even begun doing his end of the agreement. Why is he singled out as the one who will kill the agreement? As far as wanting to play kasparov on a equal terms fine. Kasparov set the terms: Defending champ gets draw odds and an extra game with the white pieces. Those are Kasparov's terms. Equal means they should apply to either side. Equal does not mean when *I'm* defending the title I get draw odds and an extra game with white when *your* defending the title no draw odds and no extra game with white.
It also does not mean if I win the match no rematch is required if you win I should get an automatic rematch. Is this not obvious?

Anyway as far as priorities yes I would like to see Kramnik and Kasparov play. But Kasparov does not rank high on the list of sympathy cases. I agree he is owed a certain respect becasue he did defend his title against what was largly considered the toughest challengers at the time. Nevertheless, he could have had a fair candidates cycle established for the title when he owned it but he decided he would rather hand pick challengers. Well live by the sword die by the sword.
More of my sympathy goes out to all the other players who are playign chess as well or perhaps better than Kasparov and Kramnik but due to FIDEs incompetence have been unable to try to qualify for a world championship match for about 13 years. Everyone can prioritize what percieved injustice is important to them. You can throw your pity party for Kasparov if you want. I think the real travesty is happening to the players we haven't heard about for the simple reason that they have been excluded from competing for the real World Championship. Giving them a shot to finally show if they are really the best in the world would be my priority.

It seems clear that the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match is going to take place. It will be held under the general understanding that the winner will play with Kramnink for the unified World Title. If Kramnik refuses to play, then is likely that the winner of K-K will be proclaimed and recognized as the official and legitimate world champion (after all Fide is the legal owner of the title). And if FIDE then establishes a sensible candidate’s cycle, Kramnik “title” will be irrelevant to chess players, fans, sponsors and general public.

This is going to happen regardless of what is fair or who the one with the moral rights is.

So I think it will be better for everybody if Kramnik proclaims right now that he is willing to go on with the Prague accord. After all we are no talking of a big sacrifice here. It is going to be a big payday for him and probably will be the winner.

In elaborating niceforkinmove writes:

> I think the real travesty is happening to the players we haven't heard about for the simple reason that they have been excluded from competing for the real World Championship. Giving them a shot to finally show if they are really the best in the world would be my priority.

And which "real World Championship" is that? There's the rub. So long as this is even a question the situation in chess is little better than that of boxing -- with your huge sense of injustice for Anand and Pono all for naught.

When asked about the legitimacy of his FIDE knockout title (we're going back several years now), Anand famously quipped that he "won the only one available." That was before A Fresh Start was on the table. The Prague Agreement may not have been to his liking, but it does move us away from eternal balkanization.

Given the mess of the recent past, the best way to make amends to Anand is to now make available for the winning a world championship that really is "real" (read: unified, classical). Anything less is hardly a shot worth having.

Dear Mig,

> It's my opinion, based on Kramnik's actions and statements, that he does not favor any unification with FIDE.

Is not is just natural, by the way? Based on your own comments on the FIDE politics?

If you wish to support Kasparov's interests (to play Kramnik again, as I guess), why not to take in account that Kramnik became relatively hard with Kasparov only after latter insulted him (as I player, not as a personalty) in press for some years, starting from the moment when Kasparov has began to feel the real competition.

On the Kramnik's place it was quite logical to limit his efforts regarding playing another match against the same guy.

FIDE insulted Ponomariov, and we know what the outcome was.
And if Kasparov and his friends will insult Kramnik, what kind of unification can take place? It is also a big question if any unification with FIDE is really needed now. What about Anand? Maybe it is more logical for Kramnik to play against Anand, it will look more like a real championship. Objectively, Kasparov has no results to have adequate claims.

Now I understand your initial message in the following way: Peter Leko has bad score and (therefore) better personal relations with Kasparov. It's very pity that he didn't become the champion.
Please, tell me if I am wrong.

Hello Mikhail. I think Kramnik's position is entirely reasonable for his own interests! Please note, I don't think he's crazy or a bad person. I've spent considerable time with Kramnik and he has always been reasonable and friendly.

It is my opinion that unification of the classical title with FIDE is useful and important for the chess world. That means the players and the promotion of the sport at all levels.

I don't necessarily think it would be best for Kramnik, at least not in the short term. He was completely correct when he said he made the most concessions in Prague. Kasparov and FIDE can get something they didn't have, positive reasons. Kramnik can only get something that doesn't even exist right now, the unified title, and signed because he was under threat.

Your interpretation of my original statement is basically correct. It's a pity *from a perspective of unification* that Kramnik won. Leko would have more to gain and has no history of mutual antagonism with Kasparov and FIDE as Kramnik does. This is no insult to Kramnik. Personally I have no trouble with it, of course, especially after the way he won brilliantly in the final round.

As for Kasparov or Anand, why didn't Kramnik play Anand instead of Leko? Or Bologan? Sarcasm, but you get my point.

I agree, and I make this point in an upcoming ChessBase article, that Anand is the biggest loser from this process right now, and probably the best argument for dumping it. But since there is nothing better on the menu (in the real world, not a fantasy world), I'd rather just get this over with before Vishy retires!

I hope nobody insults anyone at this point. I hope Kasparov and Ilyumzhinov close their mouths and get the Kasimdzhanov match done. Of course they should get to work on the unification match too, and a qualifier after that. Wouldn't it be great if there could be a FIDE champ vs Kramnik match in the late summer and a qualifier with all of the top players next November? One title, many players, big prizes, classical time control, double KO... I can dream, can't I?

I think the word "mutual" is rather misplaced here.

Kramnik's history of "mutual antagonism" with Kasparov is akin to a history of mutual antagonism rabbits have with wolves. Kasparov's attacks and insults against Kramnik (or a few other top-20 players, for that matter) are known and well documented. I would be grateful if anyone could point me to anything remotely similar that has come from Kramnik.

Yes, only those who disagree with you have the burden of providing evidence. Excellent, comrade!

Kramnik is no rabbit. He has criticized FIDE with regularity (not saying I disagree with him), as has his spokesgroup the ACP. He has also dished out pretty well when it comes to Kasparov.

I wasn't pretending to keep precise score of comments from all sides. You are welcome to do so. Kasparov talks ten times as much, so I would assume he is easily in the lead here. Blessedly, none of this was my point. But feel free to take issue with any specific word in all of my posts.

Mig, John and other supporters of unification seem to agree that they are talking about the "spirit" of the prague agreement. They seem to concede in letter it is as good as dead.

Mig and others are making it sound that the opponents of the Prague agreement are opponents of unification. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nobody will be against a fair unification. And the Prague agreement is totally irrelevant in the present circumstances. "Better than nothing" is a convenient argument and a fig leaf - the people who are using it for the FIDE KO today were dismissing the same format as a joke some time back. It just happens that the winner of the FIDE KO happens to be playing Kasparov. All these are simply convenient and double standards. Mig and John F should read their old articles on FIDE KO and legitimacy of Kramnik's win. Suddenly today they find the FIDE KO is good enough and Kramnik's title to be illegitimate. And the Prague agreement, despite its numerous flaws and unfairness, is gospel that should be followed without question. Such double standards are a shame. And I respect Kramnik for standing up against the unfairness and irrelevancy of the Prague agreement.

If the larger goal is unifying the chess world and not the prague plan per se, then I am sure there are better ways to achieve it. In fact, things are so different now that the Prague plan if followed will lead to more division instead of unity. And implementing the Prague plan comes with a cost as it leads to a year's delay. Big cost and no benefit, as I see it.

Perhaps someone like Seirawan will come up with a better plan before it is too late.


THERE IS NO LETTER TO BE DEAD. It was an agreement, not a contract. I think dictionary.com is still working.

Ooh, a FAIR unification. Why didn't we think of that two years ago? Where were you all? Gosh, so much trouble could have been saved if only you had been there to write the plan, make everyone happy, and throw a few million dollars in.

FIDE uses the KO to find their champion. Sadly, criticizing it hasn't made them change. As long as they use it to find their champion it is involved in unification de facto.

"Better than nothing" isn't anything other than true. Or would you rather Tripoli not have happened at all? Easier for you to say than all the players who paid rent. FIDE uses it to find their champion. They use an outdated and static rating list to find their number one player. That doesn't mean you throw FIDE in the garbage if you are interested in unification.

It's always easy for a bunch of message board nihilists to say "just start over" every year or two. You're like the main character in "Memento," never remembering, never learning from mistakes, never making progress. You insist on a perfect fantasy solution instead of a flawed but possible one.

The rest of us want to live in the real world, where sponsorship matters, where compromises are necessary, where it's not all black and white.

Nobody is saying the KO format is perfect. Nothing happened suddenly. Nobody says Kramnik's title is illegitimate. Your exaggerations and strawmen are a waste of all our time. You waited two years for Kramnik-Leko, and now suddenly it's start over, Prague is crap, I'm sure there's a better plan, blah blah blah.

Either put up the money and a plan to make Ilyumzhinov happy or cut FIDE out of the picture, in which case I assume you have a handy substitute ready. Or do you mean unification with some other organization? If you are for unification with FIDE that means you'll have to deal with Ilyumzhinov and what he wants.

If you want to continue the schism, by all means be an absolutist. If you are interested in fairness we'd still be waiting for sponsorship to come through for a Kasparov-Shirov match. Maybe some day you'll realize that a solution might not be fair to everyone, or anyone, but can still be better than no solution at all.

I agree with Mig's last post completely. No matter what agreement you have, somebody is always going to cry that it's "unfair." I think it's terrible that the Israel/Jewish players were unable to safely play in the FIDE KO. I think it's extremely unfortunate that Anand, for contractual and personal reasons, is not a part of the present unification process. (I feel the same way about guys like Morozevich and even Ponomariov. Personally, I'd like to see all of the best players playing.) But at a certain point, you have to try to make what progress you can. Right now, unification is the only available progress that seems to be on track. Once you get that done you might even get better sponsorship possibilities, which could increase the options as far as curing the other problems. But I think that it's clear from the last decade that unification is the sine qua non of most improvements in the situation for professional chessplayers (and their fans). So it's time to stop the bickering about fairness and just get it done.


By applying the word 'exaggeration' you are actually doing the same.If somebody reads your reply to kapalik, and reads only that ,they may like the soundness of your arguement.Like..
" Ooh, a FAIR unification. Why didn't we think of that two years ago? Where were you all? Gosh, so much trouble could have been saved if only you had been there to write the plan, make everyone happy, and throw a few million dollars in."
This was absolute rubbish.You should ask yourself and the architects of this plan why no other plans are thought of.There were numerous plans I saw mentioned in chessninja message board alone.But the so called who is who of chess didn't carethe little ones.Well you don't care even now.And by cleaverly( or cynically) clubbing devising a plan with throwing couple of millions you are trying to ridicule even the concept of thinking of an alternate plan.As if the guys who designed this plan threw couple of millions!.
You agree...hardly anybody was consulted when this plan took shape.
You agree..Kasparov has an advantage he doesn't deserve
You agree..Players like Anand were punished for no fault of them..
You agree...None of the players involved in this unity plan are the best in chess per current performance.
You agree.. This was delayed,diluted,changed etc.. all along.
You agree...no sponsors have queued up so far(Libiyan dictators or Arab sheik's are not sponsorers).
You agree...No clear plan even now what to do next.
You agree..or you may agree several of these and those not mentioned here.
Still...Well you know What I am going to say?.
It is an evil plan that never took off..Forget it and move on.

I have a question: who cares??

Who's the tennis champion of the world? Who's the car-racing champion? Golf? Equestrian? Which team is the bridge champions?

These sports/games do way better than chess.

Get it?

Why can't we have a candidates match cycles that chess fans ask for over and over again?

Answer: Its not black and white.

"Its not black and white" is not an argument. I can say "Its not balck and white" therefore we *should* have a candidates match cycle.

Why could you possibly think some KO system (even double elimination) would get more sponsorship than a match system? What proven track record do these have versus matches. Teh fact is if there are a series of matches leadign to a world championship *that* is waht peopel will think is legitimate. It doesn't matter whether FIDE ACP and the Vatican say a knockout tournament winner is the champion. If its decided by blitz chess and is a statistical equivalent ot a crap shoot no one cares abotu it.

Do you think if Kasparov loses he will play some KO elimation system that ends up being decided by blitz games? Of course he won't. He sure didn't want any part of Tripoli. Neither did a slew of the top ten players in the world. Why? Becasue these systems are a lottery! They are not a method for finding the best chesspalyer in the world.

Stop saying we can onnly dream for what we want and start demanding it! If Kirssan won't allow it have someone else set it up. Thank God, life has been going on without FIDE deciding the chmpion since 1993.

I specualte Kasparov is going to go one last shot at the title. If he wins it he would love his cahallengfer to be picked by this a Kirsan KO system. He will be able to defend his title forever with the randomness of players that system yields.

Yes, there are some players like Anand cannot play in this Unification match. What can we do now. Anand did not want to play in the FIDE KO. The best thing for Chess is to unify the title. Otherwise without Unification, its same thing again with 2 parallel cycles and all confusion. To say that Kasparov is benefited from this Prague agreement is right to some extent. He has earned the place by being No. 1 for past 20 years.Even Anand and other players want this Unification match to happen for the good of the Chess world.


The FIDE KO Championships came about for the simple reason that there were no longer enough financial sponsors for candidates matches.

The thing about Candidates matches is that they're actually very easy to organize--if you have the money.

Anyone who could come up with the money could instantly go back to the same rules as prevailed in the 1980s.

But with the end of the Cold War and the disbandment of the Soviet Union, the non-profit-oriented sponsors were no longer there. And commercial sponsors just weren't interested.

Even individual private tournaments like Hoogoovens (now the Corus tournament) had difficulty finding commercial sponsors in the 80s and 90s.

Any solution that is proposed must address the issue of who will pay for it.


Ilyumnizhov was able to come up with the money for the knock-out format. In the US, the Seattle organization was able to come up with the money for their format for a US championship.


If you want to have candidates matches again, I do not think there are any grandmasters anywhere who would disagree with the format--just put the money in escrow, and they'll come.

But since our current situation seems to be that there are no financial sponsors for the 3 year candidates cycle, the question has to be "What is the best championship format we can sustain economically?"


One could make the argument that, like football's World Cup, chess is one of the very few activities that takes place truly world-wide. And that we probably COULD drum up sponsorship for a geographically-based qualifier process that allowed only 1 player, the country's champion, from each country. The everyday fan would support a countryman/woman just because of country allegiance, and there would probably be enough money to hold it.

But as chessplayers, we all know the problem with that--Russia alone produces several of the world's best. We want a system that allows multiple qualifiers from some countries.


So what formats could generate enough sponsorship to be sustainable, and involve enough of the world's top 10 players to be seen as legitimate?

The argument cannot be limited to what's the fairest way to choose a world champion. Because in truth I think few people really argue with the candidates system on that basis.

The argument must include the economic factors, because that's what the real obstacle is.

So...chessplayers are bright, creative, clever. Traditional candidates matches are gone because there are no financial sponsors for that format. The FIDE knockout proved impractical because too many of the top 10 players don't participate.

So, what format can practically be set up in this situation to produce a single world chess champion?



If anyone can actually prove me wrong on the candidates' issue, that is if you can find someone who has enough money and is willing to say on record that they would sponsor candidates matches, I would love to be wrong. Truly.

But while the top 10 players have been clear about what they do not like about the knockout format, I have yet to hear anyone with money say, "Money isn't the issue in sponsoring the candidates format..."

In other words, if a sponsor appeared and said, "We will financially sponsor the candidates matches, but all the players must wear pink ties with our company's logo and attend a cocktail party with our board the day before," I think the matches would be scheduled as soon as the ties could be delivered.

The reason the candidates matches are not the current format is that no one is willing to pay for them. So unless your proposed solution includes a source of funding, I do think we need to move on to discuss other formats.

Having read the comments by Kapalik, Golubev et al (here and elsewhere), I cannot but come to the conclusion: the unification process or Prague agreement are not a problem. The real problem is that Kasparov is involved in them. And the real danger is that he can grab the historical title again. Some people think that he (with all his tournament and match wins, beautiful games, Elos, books, fans, sponsors, lecture tours, political comments, charisma, high profile, etc.) is a great asset for chess. Of course, this is nonsense: clever people know for sure - he is a great liability. Without him the unification would have been fair. Nice people would have played chess and held the title between them. Everybody is happy - very easy to imagine, for instance, how Shirov and Kramnik are embracing each other (beside deeply moved peacemaker Danailov is shedding tears)…

Indeed, it will be a new nice chess world without such an annoying person. Peaceful and quiet - like the present titleholder who can even make himself to go public in front of a crowd of 20 people (two of them with some money) a couple of times a year... Very nice peaceful cemetery.

Candidtates cycles existed until Kasparov split off. He was clearly the best player in the world at the time and wasn't participating so of course funding broke off.

How much money do you think it will cost to have a candidates match cycle?

Sure if people think every prelim match will have a million dollar prize fund they are kiddign themselves. But surely a sponsor who is willing to put up money for the end championship match would rather have thier name in the prelims as well. I'm not saying these prelim matches would be big money but even if it isn't if a player doesn't refuses to play because the preliminary match doesn't pay him enough there are others to step in. The end result of being crowned World champ is a big enough payday that even if the individual matches had no pay people would play them if they thought they could ultimately win. If a player thinks he can't win matches againts the best in th world then its no big deal if he doesn't want to be a part of it.

Why would a sponsor be more interested in what will amount to just another tournament instead of a match cycle that the world really believes is a credible basis to award the title? Sponsors want people to watch right? Did you see the crowds in tripoli? The only reason I watched some of the games online was becasue I was curious who would end up playign in the unification *match*. If that blitz play off was to be the begin all and end all my interest in it is gone. I don't think I'm alone. You make that garbage the event and you just *destroyed* the chess world's most promising money generator - the world championship title.

That is the worst thing that can happen. Kirsan is dead set on making this a reality. Everyone will then shake thier heads in wonderment why theres no money in chess. Hmm could it be because noone really cares if #56 can win the best of two blitz games versus #7? FIDE is trying to force chess fans to like thier events instead of providing events chess fans want to watch. I'm not saying chess will be a huge money maker if we do what fans want but I don't see the logic of how it will hurt in this case.

I agree with you on the geography therefor I think the matches should *combine* "geographic Champions" with people who have a high rating and with maybe someone who does well in a tournamnet like Tripolis and/or a string of tournaments like ACP system. We can combine all of this and pick some match qualifiers. You don't have to go completely one way or the other.

Someone has mentioned before that there are no indications that Kramnik intends to dodge Kasparov. Well, in the fresh interview in the Russian newspaper Izvestia he definitely dodges the question of whether or not he plans to play the K-K winner. Does not bode too well for the unification business, I am afraid...

My feeling is that Kramnik, no matter how brave he is in his rhetoric ("Leko is much more dangerous than Kasparov", etc. - from the same interview), is in fact still scared of Kasparov and thinks it wise to stall - until Kasparov loses his skills and motivation entirely.

Interview link for those interested (in Russian):

Actually, sponsors are generally less interested in the number of spectators than in EITHER "brand value" OR ability to reach a specific niche audience.

The Superbowl doesn't need a sponsor, because it attracts so many people that it can sell individual ads because of its ability to reach a specific niche audience (US males between 21 and 49, specifically).

Golf, on the other hand, sells fewer ads but has many corporate sponsors, not because of the number of spectators, but because of the "brand value."

However, I have written on this issue a number of times before, and I don't want to be simply repetitious.

I will say that the most important thing sponsors want is to understand what they are getting. If they negotiate for an endorsement from "the world champion" it is very confusing to them if a competitor shows up in a month with an ad touting a DIFFERENT "world champion." This is why unification does help all professional players, if it can be accomplished.


Having had a minus score against Leko prior to their match (and still after the match), Kramnik has all the right to consider Leko a more dangerous opponent (to him). As for being scared of Kasparov, right, that;s exactly the reason Kramnik played Kasparov in the Botvinnik memorial and went to play in all Linares, WaZ and Dortmund tournaments, waiting for Kasparov to play there. But I guess Garry does not like the WaZ soup.

If you can read Russian, go back to Kramnik's interview to "64" about a year and a half ago. He says there precisely the same thing: there is no point in a unification match until the exact qualification system is specifiied. That's what he says again to "Izvestia". That was one of the major paragraphs of the Prague protocol. Who plays whom is not what Prague was about, that's what those who are desperate to crown Kasparov at all cost are trying to reduce it to.

My point was that Kramnik is afraid to play a title match against Kasparov. If course, I don't have a proof that would stand in court, but I think it explains quite well Kramnik's behavior for the last 4 years.

As for Botvinnik memorial, Astana, etc. - they might be exactly the reason why Kramnik realizes he might easily lose the title if he were to play a match against Kasparov, so your sarcasm is somewhat misplaced.

And as for his (Kramnik's) using a nice-sounding reason to justify his stalling strategy, well, he is certainly no dimwit. You would not expect him to announce that he is afraid to play Kasparov and would rather sit on his title until Garry retires for whatever reason, right?

Kramnik has never been afraid of Kasparov (the only player that can say that) and he's not been dodging him, either. He's been resisting the idea that Garry somehow deserves a rematch because his last name is Kasparov. However, that doesn't mean he's afraid of him or that he's been dodging him.

[Profanity and gratuitous vulgar insults removed. If you want to impress people with your 12-year-old wit and vocabulary, the Usenet is waiting for you. -Mig]

lemme see if i can clean up what you've removed from my post,

1st paragraph: holy cow, it must get crowded being all crowded in there in the crowd that loves kasparov so much!

3rd paragraph: it just means that for the first time since fischer we have a world champion who isn't a self serving person.

and i'm sorry if that stuff struck a nerve with you, mr. greengard.

Ooh, boo-hoo. No, your being a profane jerk struck a nerve. You don't have to look beyond this page to find much stronger opinions than yours.

Right Dz,

Based on ONE game in Astana and a bunch of BLITZ games in Moscow, Kramnik finally realized that he is doomed to lose to Kasparov in a match (never mind he recently won a match against Kasparov).

Kramnik isn't afraid of Kasparov; that was what distinguished him from so many other players. He had known Kasparov since he was a kid and had worked with him behind the scenes in 1995. I think he actually plays his best against Kasparov. Combined with his positional style it makes him Kasparov's ultimate nemesis at the board.

That said, I don't think Anand is afraid of Kasparov either, although psychological confidence issues probably spring up after so many years of futility. (See Red Sox, at least for a few more hours.)

We can go on forever doing nitpicking here (for instance, I have never said "doomed to lose", I said "might ... lose") but I really think there is no point debating this any further. As I said, my theory seems to cover all known (to me) facts rather well and nothing you have said so far disproved it. And neither did Kramnik's interview, for that matter.

Just to sum up my position: I do believe Kasparov deserves another shot at the title (assuming he copes with Kasim, of course) and I absolutely agree with Mig that Kramnik's victory makes the unification match highly unlikely. The reason for the latter (be it his cowardice or his stated altruism) is not that important, after all.

P.S. Mig, sorry for using a rude word in a previous post...

There is now another, a much more substantive Kramnik's interview (again in Russian, alas.) He says (among many other things) that he does not consider himself bound by the Prague agreement.

He proposes ("for discussion's sake") a tournament between Kasparov, Kasimdzhanov, Anand and Ponomariov - and then the winner will play him for the title. Bright idea! Long live unified chess world!

Interview link:

Now Kramnik proposing a tournament between Kasparov, Kasimdzhanov, Anand and Ponomariov? I don't think it can happen. Its FIDE's business and they are atleast following the Prague Agreement. Kramnik has signed the Prague agreement too. The match between Kasparov and Kasim has already been announced by FIDE. Pono is out of question at the moment since he refused to play Kasparov. Everyone is looking forward to the Unification match.

As many have mentioned, Prague was not just about who plays whom (even there Pono is out because of the way FIDE shabbily treated him).

More important are the plans after unfication. Will it be another KO with the FIDE time control(and not classical time control) and rapids and blitzes. If so, is unification worth it? How fair and inclusive will the qualifying be? Is Kramnik wrong in demanding claification on those issues?

What about the player's body that was promised by FIDE? Kasparov is justified in being impatient about the next match but the rest of the chess world should be interested in what lies ahead.

I am also surprised about all the talk about money. The important thing is fair unification (even if money is less) that is broadly accepted by most (whether based on Prague agreement or Kramnik's or Seirawan's proposals). Once the chess world is unified, there won't be a shortage of sponsorship or money (assuming none of the top players do what Kasparov did in 93). Also, chess doesn't need huge crowds to be successful or attract money. It is enough to have widespread online interest and coverage. Chess is well suited for internet and the division in the past has been a barrier in realizing the potential of chess.

In short, chess cannot survive on Kirsan's money forever. Unification and plans thereafter that ensure the interest of all players (not just Kasparov) is essential.


Kapalik, I agree with you that Chess should not depend on Kirsan's so called Sponsors. More than ever, we need a leadership change in FIDE. We need some one who is a great leader, honest and trustworthy who works only for the promotion of Chess!

the theory of reunification was simple: that the chess world needed both a classical champion AND an independent organization to regularly produce a challenger through a legitimate process uninfluenced the champion's fears/desires. That is the only way that sponsors can feel comfortable in the predictability of what they are signing up for, including the time frame. Kramnik has never fully agreed with this, though. Yet as long as he attempts to control the challenger process, sponsors will be hard to find.

Perhaps the solution to the "too many ties" complaint is the awarding of multiple, celebrated, and lucrative "brilliancy," and "well-played game" awards. Expand the field with "Bold Sacrifice," "Startling Reversal" and other attention-getting titles to give journalists more hooks. After all, its not just whether you win or lose, its how you play the game.

What's going to happen with the Unification match? Its very disappointing after hearing the news. Kramnik is proposing the match between Kasparov, Kasim, Pono and Anand. It is not his business. FIDE never proposed anything with Kramnik, about his Danemann WC match. If Kramnik is interested in the Unification, he should be ready to play the FIDE champion. I feel Kramnik thinks, he is the Champ. and the FIDE Champ. is only a challenger. Why should kasim, Gary and FIDE accept his unreasonable proposal. Why Kramnik is asking only Pono and Anand? Why not include Adams and Leko after all they are Vice Champions. Kramnik has signed the Prague agreement. Now this man is not honouring for his selfish reasons.

NYC Knight,

Yes, you touch on exactly the right point--the selection of who the next challenger will be must not only be fair and reasonable. It must be announced far enough in advance that those who want to attempt it can do so--and that THEIR sponsors can understand what is at stake.

To include Rasimdzhanov and Kasparov, OK. To include Anand, understandable. To include Ponomariov opens too many after-the-fact arguments.

NYC are you reading the chessbase article? If so you are reading a misrepresentation of the prague agreement. You should read the actual prague agreement and ask after each point whether FIDE has complied with it. I think you will find FIDE has not complied with a single point of the prague agreeement. Indeed if you care to read the agenda for the current FIDE congress you'll find a point titled "World Chess Championship knockout format 2005" - so they seem intent on goign contrary to prague. If I'm wrong then they should say so and explain what they want ofr a second cycle - its thier obligation under prague to do this.

The only person who has complied with any part of prague is Kramnik - by playing the winner of dortmund. FIDE can't be allowed to simply change agreements without the consent of all the parties to that agreement. There is a very important principle at stake and I hope Kramnik does not cave in to pressure. He didn't cancel anythign he is merely pointing out the *fact* that FIDE is in breach of the prague agreement and he is willing to talk about how to proceed.
FIDE screwed up the agreement. They should acknowledge that fact and try to reach an agreement on the second cycle. I think if that can be done the first cycle may not be such a big issue.

Thank you for your response. Please tell me the link to the original Prague agreement. I would like to know how FIDE has not complied with it. What I know for sure is Pono to some extent is responsible for all that is going on now.
Regarding the Kramnik complying with Prague, it is not something special he has done to FIDE or anyother party involved there.The match was much planned earlier right. It has been 4 years and Kramnik has no choice but to play a Challenger. With or without Prague, Kramnik-Leko match would have taken place. Why Kramnik did not raise any objection to FIDE about Kasparov-Kasim match before the Danemann?

While the Prague agreement negotiations were going on, Khalifman proposed a structure in which the KO was used to identify 7 qualifiers who would be joined by the defending champ for a candidates cycle. It got a lot of interest at the time.

Yasser Seirawan discusses it briefly in his open letter from last year, and he says it was one of the only things on which there was no disagreement.

(Note also the rather ironic point now that at the time the Prague agreement was considered Kramnik's Plan, at least as Seirawan reports it.)


By the way, as to the cost of holding a traditional candidates match (ala the 70s) today, I would guess around $6.5 million. Hence my joke previously of the $6.4 million question.

That would include the cost of reverting the national championship qualifiers to their old style so they could count as zonals again.

Purely a guess, but in any case I'd think it's probably in range.

It certainly wouldn't be less than $2.5 million, and I don't think it would be more then $10.

In any case, a whole lot of money, much more than holding a single qualifying event and then jumping right to the quarter finals.

And a whole lot of links on the Prague agreement and the various discussions at the time:


Le me remind you what Yasser Seirawan wrote in his open letter to Kasparov (16.05.2004):
"If we are all truly interested in restoring credibility to the World Championship title we must agree that having you play the winner of the Tripoli knockout event is against all the rules of fairness and of sport. Most of the world’s top ten players will not compete; Israeli and other Jewish players are to be barred. Tripoli is shaping up disastrously."

Kasim certainly is a very nice guy, and it's not his fault that he has no legitimacy whatsoever. It is simply unacceptable that players of one nation are barred from a world championship. How can we expect Kramnik to endorse that?

Duif I'm not sure I follow your figures on this 6.5 million dollars. What woudl we need to do that woudl cost this much? Can you break thaqt down at all?

Also note that Kramnik does seem to have sponsors interested in a match cycle. I can't say for sure because I can't read Russian. But after babefishing his interview thats what he seems to be saying. Anyone who can read Russian might be able to help on this.


As I said, that's just an offhand guess, assuming zonals, interzonals, 12 game candidates matches, and a 14 game championship with a $1.2 million purse. Of course, if you use no prizes and no press support for anything below the Championship it would cost considerably less, but without state sponsorship of individuals it's hard to imagine top players agreeing to play for 2 or 3 years with no money coming in.

Although the format varied somewhat, we also have to take into account the rise of China in the chess world, a factor that means we're going to have 3 interzonals, not just 2. Or maybe even 4 instead of 3.

So you're looking at some number of zonal events. Then 3 interzonals which would probably need to be at least 14 people each. Then 4 quarter final matches, 2 semi final matches, and the championship.

(By the way, in the old format the interzonals produced 6 candidates, who were joined by the loser of the previous world championship AND the person who had lost to him/her, making 8. Alternatively I suppose one might hold 4 interzonals, but of course that would cost more.)


So you have 7 matches plus 3 (or perhaps 4) linares-size tournaments. 3 series (interzonal, quarter finals, semi finals) before the championship. All with world class players.


If the Interzonals are all-play-all format, you're talking about something like 20 days for 14 players plus arbiters, press officers, coaches, etc, done 3 (or perhaps 4) times.

Then another 20 days for two players plus the others, done 4 times.

Then another 20 days for two players plus the others done twice.

Then the championship.

So even before the championship, you have had to cover over 1600 hotel nights' worth of accomodations for superGMs or chief arbiters. (I'm assuming you're not planning on having them pay their own way to an interzonal.) Press coverage costs for 9 different events. Prize money of some kind for 64 world class GMs. (That is, a prize for winning the quarter final, a prize for winning the semi, although of course some of these are going to the same person.) Playing location costs for 9 events. And so on.


You can play around with the various costs and who pays what, of course (as well as the quality of the accomodations and playing hall), but I think you can see why there has been economic pressure to reduce the total number of events, which is usually done by assuming a candidates tournament rather than a full series of matches. Or at least changing the separate interzonals into a single big event like the FIDE knockout.


So, let's say you're designing a sequence that will attract Adams, Morozevich, and Anand. You want each of them to commit to playing in an interzonal, a quarterfinals match, and a semi finals match before they get to the title round.

What sort of budget do you think it would take to produce events of a caliber that would work? With appropriate press support, of course.

There are a lot of different ways to do it, and a lot of different possible answers.

But you can see why it is sometimes frustrating when someone (not the people in this discussion, but a common kind of chess conversation) just wave a hand and say, "We should just go back to candidates matches. That's the only fair way to determine a champion."

It might indeed be a very fair way. But it is also a quite expensive way. So any discussion of a cycle has to include a discussion of where the money will come from.


By the way, if anyone wants to come back and say, "I've worked out an exact budget, and the whole cycle would cost $2.9 million, not $6.5 million" I wouldn't argue.

I would again just ask where the money is going to come from, not just for one cycle, but for a regular repeated set of cycles over the next 15 years.

If for $6.5 million you want to substitute "A whole lot of money, definitely in the millions" that's probably just as accurate as anything I've said so far. :)

Here are the FIDE regulations for the upcoming Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov match, if you want to see what they think is involved in planning a match:


It is often said, not the least by Kramnik himself, that Kramnik's stand is principled. I wonder though, in what way? Kramnik himself got a match directly despite LOSING to Shirov. Yet, when asked at one point whether he would give a re-match to Kasparov, he quipped "I didnt know I have to win twice against Kasparov to be a world champion." Surely, Shirov winning once over Kramnik was not enough to stop Kramnik from becoming a challenger!! What kind of a principle is then Kramnik adhering to? Kramnik CAN have NO principles. He became a world champion by UNPRIINCIPLED means, to which of course Kasparov himself contributed by offering to play Kramnik by-passing all qualifying cycles.

All that Kramnik can claim is that in a one-off match against Kasparov he won. The fact that that match by-passed all qualifying cycles alone is sufficient to invalidate any claim by Kramnik that he is a world champion. Naturally, his 'defending' his non-existent title against Leko doesnt arise. Yet, I agree with MIG that Leko winning alone probably would have given some chance for the idea of a world champion to be resurreced.

I believe the only solution, one that I think will eventually assert itself, is to acccept the very idea of a "world champion" in Chess is now DEFUNCT. I don't think it can be revived. So best is to follow the model of ATP etc., and just have appropriate ratings for standard and blitz that rank players each year in both categories separately, based on their performances in selected, recognized tournaments. Also, FIDE has to renounce the lousy 90 30 time controls and go back to classical time controls for standard games in these tournaments.

Ashok Patel,

Perhaps you are right. Certainly it has the virtues of simplicity and economy. The #1 player in the world each year is...the #1 rated player in the world. The sponsors can understand that, the time frame is simple and understandable.

There can still be whatever individual matches and tournaments that private organizers are interested in sponsoring, and we would avoid all the complex qualifying issues.

The primary difficulty is that, unlike other sports, the certifying organization (FIDE, in this case) gets most of its annual budget form its share of the prize fund in the world championship. So while the players might be content, and private sponsors happy, the organization would have to find an entirely different business model.

Duif thanks for the posts. You are the first person who has actually taken the time to explain the costs.

There are a couple of points though.
First I'm not wed to a system identical to the intersonals of the 60s or bust. From what I read people just don't want top players getting knocked out as a result of a two game "match" or worse yet a two game blitz match. My impression is people don't think this is as credible as having players play a match of 12 games against eachother to decide who continues on in the cycle. So I don't think anyone thinks the exact interzonal system used in the early 70s is the only way to have a good match cycle. Ill discuss the huge variety fo methods later in this post.
Also, I don't know that we would need *one* sponsor for every aspect of the cycle. Indeed one of the advantages of having zonals is some sponsors may be interested in that particular zone and not others. Some sponsors may be global companies that are interested in every aspect or permutations of it. Maybe one sponsor would like to cover one mathc etc. So syaing one guy or company must foot the whole bill seems odd to me.

At one point you say:
"Championship with a $1.2 million purse. Of course, if you use no prizes and no press support for anything below the Championship it would cost considerably less, but without state sponsorship of individuals it's hard to imagine top players agreeing to play for 2 or 3 years with no money coming in."

Well the Kramnik Leko was for under $1 million but certainly a unified championship with a real cycle could draw that. The issue I have is with your other statement about preliminary rounds. Players wouldn't have "to play for two or three years" without compensation. They woudl have to play "a few matches" with the understanding that although the prelims may not pay well, if they can beat 3 or four of the top players they will have a huge payday and a crack at the title.

Moreover there are many ways we can decide on qualifiers for the matches at the end but we have a few things alredy in place that we can use:

1)national championsips
2)a rating system
3)Strong and well respected tournaments
4)ACP points system.

Certainly a match system could take into account one or more than one of these instead of choosign every match opponent by a ssytem we devise out of whole clothe.

Moreover we can mix and match these preestablished measuring methods.

For example lets say the we get four for each zone. (Each country sends a player (the coutrys organization ccan decide who goes) to compete for thier zone. Then a tournament is palyed for the three or four players who woudl be the zonal representitatives.) We coudl then take the top 8 players on the rating list other than the world champ. (yes we cna do some things to ensure activity and have other safeguards) The bottom four could play the zonal four and and the winners could then play the top four rated players in a quaterfinal. Then the champ could jump in the semifinal etc.

Now we cna choose many permutations of this. Maybe 2 players wiht ACP points. But the thing to keep in mind is that not all players have to start in the first round of matches some cna come in later. Thios woudl allow for soem players who are long shots but the long shots woudl have to win more poorer payign prelim matches.

Now we could also take fewer people from the rating list but throw in the player with the most acp points and or a person who won a big tournament. We have all of these preeestablished understandings of peoples strengths we could easilly have a good match system with many different avenues to qualify.

If someone has already done one or more predifined things to demonstrate he is likely to be the strongest in the world we can seed him into the match cycle later say quarter finals or with respect to the wordl champ semi-finals.

Whereas someone whos achievement could very well have been the result of a lucky tournament - Ie., winnign a zonal tournament (or other criteria) may have to play two more matches before they are in the quarter finals.

Let me expalin: Kasim is rated 40 something. He did have a good tournament in the FIDE knockout tournament. However he clearly has not shown himself superior to the other 40 some players who don't get seeded directly to the semifinal. Now if he were to Have a 12 game match agaisnt say Pono and win and then a 12 game match against Moro and win. Then yes we can see he earned a place in the semis. But until then people who end up qualifying because of a lucky tournament shoudl be tested by a few matches before they are right up there with people rated in the top 4. In other words matches speak louder than blitz playoff games and ratings shouldn't be *completely* ignored anymore than they should *completely* decide who plays for the championship.

But anyway like I said this isn't my job. There should be someone in FIDE taking these and perhaps other preestablished measuring sticks together and thinking this through. It can be done and it woudl be much better than every thing riding on one tournament performance.

Of course if FIDE never never trys to put it together it will never have sponsors.

Finally yes I have briefly reviewed the FIDE regualtions. It seems a simple 10 page document. Fairly straight forward to me, as it shoud be.

Kramnik's comments are very disturbing. He is just playing for time. He is looking somehow to eliminate Kasparov by proposing a 4 player match.
It is enough. The Chess world should oppose him. We need the reunification so badly.

Today, I read Kramnik's interview (English trans.) on Chessbase. He sounds reasonable with his demands with FIDE for the Unification. He says, he is positive towards the Unification. But FIDE has to workout with him. I dont know, how Kasim and Kasparov look at his approach.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 18, 2004 8:55 PM.

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