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ACP: Prague is Dead

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The Association of Chess Professionals issued a brief statement (see below) on Kasparov's withdrawal from the FIDE/Kasimdzhanov/Turkey/unification match. (Unless of course the money magically appears in the next few days, at which point Kasparov's letter will look like a clever negotiating tool.)

Kramnik/ACP have been "ready to cooperate" for a long time. The question is whether they are ready to lead and to do something like put together a new cycle, find sponsorship, and put money where their mouth is. If they do, the pressure will be on Ilyumzhinov to bring FIDE to the table or be cut out of the picture. (Perhaps not a bad thing considering their weapons of match destruction.) The longer things are open, the more likely FIDE is to come up with something horrible. That could be another KO, replacing Kasparov, or something even worse.

ACP statement of 21 January 2005

We have taken note of Garry Kasparov's recent press release, where he has announced his refusal to proceed any futher with the FIDE title match against Rustam Kasimdzhanov. Given the circumstances surrounding the organization of this event, Mr Kasparov's decision is understandable. This officially marks the end of the Prague Agreement signed in May 2002.

For its part, ACP will continue to search for ways to resolve the current uncertainty concerning the next World Chess Championship cycle. To achieve this breaktrough, ACP stands ready to cooperate with all sides who share its concern for the future of chess, including FIDE and Mr Kasparov.

ACP Board
21 January 2005


Any chaance of Anand getting a fair shot at the title match ?? or should be still waiting for the next cycle ??

Kramnik-Anand match looks as one of the best possible solutions.

A possible solution (given that the problem is money, nothing else)that should make everyone happy:

FIDE invites 12 players that have, in one way or another, involved with the qualification process at some point during the last five years. Each receives a US$10.000 appearance fee. The winner plays Kramnik for the world championship.

Invitation would be based on a few factors: rating, past qualifications (for example, Shirov qualified once, he should be invited and so should be Pono and Kazim, etc). Anand would be invited based on rating, etc.

If the appearance fee is not to a player's taste, he's excluded and the next on the list is used. Then, a match with Kramnik where Kramnik gets, say 400 grand and the challenger gets 100 could be reasonably arranged. Why should the challenger agree to take much less money? Because, if he wins, he would be on the driver's seat next time.

Something along those lines would address the reality of diminishing sponsorship money while "righting" several of the wrongs committed during the last few years.

Hahah, Kramnik-Anand, perfect. That would make them the biggest hypocrites in the history of chess, surpassing Kasparov's joining up with FIDE in 2002. One week ago: Democracy! No to favoritism! Must have a fair cycle! Kasparov gets preferred treatment! Now: Oh, wait, Kasparov's not involved? Screw democracy and a fair cycle! Gotta love it.

Solution to what? Not only is Anand #2, not #1, but he didn't play in the FIDE KO WC won by Kasimdzhanov. Of course in this wild west world there is nothing to stop Kramnik from granting Anand a challenge match (except for good sense and the knowledge he would be branded a hypocrite). But it certainly wouldn't unify or solve anything at all. Unless, that is, you expect FIDE to nominate Anand their champion, or move to have a match between him and Kasimdzhanov, which is a terrifying possibility. It would be fun just to watch so many hypocrites who attacked the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match embrace it though.

"Fair shot" means qualification, which means a cycle of some sort.

Hi Mig,

I would definately prefer Anand and everybody else go through cycle. But will that ever happen ?? Anand was alaways ready to start afresh ...

I am very happy to see Kasparov treated this way. Remember what happen to Shirov which is plain fraud.
You want to change opponent because you dont get sponsrship ?? which respactable sport has this practice.

NO world champion should be allowed to chosse his opponent. we should have a fair cycle.

Mig may be u should read some of your comments after Prague its very much contadicting.

Kasparov is kepping #1 by playing very few games .. even after excellent russian superfinal he lost ELO points in latest rating. Anand has still 8 points which will be credited latter he now 2894
hoping he dont loose any points in corus ... he should be reaching 2800 in july ...

Kasparov is one of the all time best player no question about it .

What really irritates every one using that to bypass qualification process is very unfair ..

Is Kasparov in now best player in world is open to question ??

I don't know what "start afresh" means here.

Back in 1998-2000 it was a question of choosing an opponent or not having one at all. Had the money been in place that opponent would have been Anand. Yes, Shirov was defrauded, but not by Kasparov. I tire of rehashing the facts.

Of course whether or not Kasparov is still #1 is open to question. You just questioned it. We have only the games we have. As Kasparov showed in the Russian final, when he plays more he tends to gain points, not lose them. Anand is playing now and next month in Linares Kasparov and Anand will both play. All of this is irrelevant for purposes of unification. The idea in Prague was to quickly bring things together. That didn't happen. Time for a new plan.

You have to have a qualification process in order to bypass it.

How and why , replacing Kasparov with Anand is horrifying, terifying blah...blah... to you dear Mr.Mig.You didn't say this when Shirov was replaced or Pono was replaced or for that matter when Anand was blataently excluded from this so called unification process.You simply don't have the right to talk about democracy, justification, fair play or any such things.Yes, hand picking Anand is not justified.But you should not be the one to question it.
Still,I prefer Anand to Kasparov.All along, till Prague he was loyal to FIDE.He had best record in FIDE KO's than anybody.And this unification is anyway ,is between FIDE tittle and Kramnik'S tittle.
About Kasparov gaining more points when he plays more--you said it before and promptly refuted with proof in chessninja message boards long ago.It is a lie.
Anand will be a good choice because...
1.See the above reason.
2.He is no.2 and closing on no.1
3.He is the dominent player since Prague.
4.Won chess oscar in 2003 and all set to win once again in 2004.
5.He is next only to Kasparon in no. oscars, total tournament victories in last decade.
6.A represents a billion people.His inclusion most likely to raise sponsorship.
7.Above all for no fault his, he was cheated, was kept out of loop, when was playing his best chess.What worse you can do to a sportsman of his stature.
Kasparov's sufferings are his own makings.I have no sympathy for him.

Yep time for new plan. but the problem is who will have credibility to bring a new plan which will be acceptable to every one.

Mig I have the impression most top players are happy with KO format (except kasparov and Kramnik). geniune one not like one in Libya.

If that happens do u think there is any chace of Kasparov playing in it ? If he too participates in KO this might be more accepted..

Anand replacing Kasparov is an option but i will not like Anand taking that path

I'm sure the hypocrites will be happy to have you proudly carrying the flag for them, Pavani. Good job. I'm glad to see that rating, tournament success, ability to bring sponsorship, fame, and all the things so many said were irrelevant when applied to Kasparov are now fine when applied to Anand.

Slowly now. The point of Prague was unification of the classical title (Kramnik), the FIDE champion (Ponomariov), and the de facto and de jure number 1 player in the world (Kasparov). It was an unfair, sloppy idea but it was the best that could be imagined working quickly because of the interests in play at the time.

When it didn't work quickly, the idea was wounded and should probably have just been put out of its misery. But FIDE was stubborn and nothing else was on the menu (Kramnik couldn't get sponsorship for the Leko match) so things dragged on through another KO and Kasimdzhanov. Kasparov put a bullet in it on Tuesday. The idea of replacing him with Anand or anyone else is just keeping this Frankenstein monster of an idea moving long after it died on the table.

Anand is a lovely person and a great chessplayer, and everyone would love to see him play for the real world championship again. That doesn't mean you should hope he's as opportunistic as Kasparov with fewer qualifications. Anand has been unlucky, no doubt, but he hasn't been more or less "cheated" than everyone else during this time of chaos. As the top contender you could say he has been punished the most during this mess, but Topalov, Adams, and everyone else deserves the same shot if we're going to talk about fairness and cycles now.

And do try to stop short of just making things up. I championed Shirov's cause in 1998 and have never said Prague was perfect, unless by perfect you mean "hold your nose and get it over with." Ponomariov should have been replaced with Ivanchuk asap. Why should I have protested when he refused to play? As it was I criticized FIDE.

Very few are happy with the KO format. It is designed for randomness and bad chess and has little to do with the real championship title.

For a long time Prague and its remnants were all we had. But this should serve as a call to start something real, not a time to try a half-assed solution to what was already a half-assed solution. It's not as if Anand's (or anyone else's) name is on the Prague agreements. Kramnik had already said he wouldn't play the winner of Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov, so what exactly would the point of Anand-Kasimdzhanov be? Or maybe if Topalov or Leko wins Wijk, it will be be one of them instead of Anand. Etc. It comes down to Kramnik and will stay with him until he organizes something or until something else legit enough to pressure him to play (or replace him) comes along.

From Mig"I'm sure the hypocrites will be happy to have you proudly carrying the flag for them, Pavani. Good job. I'm glad to see that rating, tournament success, ability to bring sponsorship, fame, and all the things so many said were irrelevant when applied to Kasparov are now fine when applied to Anand."

Thanks Mig,for your comment or compliment.
BTW I am sure, you know that,you,Kasparov and few more are very much part of the elite list of hypocrites.I don't mind carrying the flag for you guys.That said, let's move..

seeding somebody into finals was not my idea.It was not the idea I endorse either(If somebody cares to ask me.).I have a strong feeling , going by what happened so far in Chess..
like Shirov replaced by Kramnik
Pono replaced by Kasim and now
Kasparov will be replaced by ????
When you didn't have any objection to the basic fallacy of the Prague..tell me why the idea of having Anand inplace of Kasparov irritates you so much.All of a sudden you started showering crocodile tears on..
Players like Anand,Adams,Topo etc..
Not havin a faigr system and
urgent need of having a candidate system.What changed so much overnight.?
Mig, we felt sameway when you guys were jumping with joy at prague.We could easily see the death of this agreement then and there itself.As late as a month ago , you didn't stop endorsing this nonsense.Now, what a turn arround!!
Replacing Anand will have a poetic justice, if not anything else.
It is unfair.Who said ,It was not, BTW?

Time to side with Mig here...

Anand has never shown any dominance in the chess world even close to what Kasparov displayed in 1999-2001. Kasparov had a +7 in Linares 1999, in a field with 8 top-10 players (back in the day when Paco Vallejo wasn't yet invited to Linares). Meanwhile, Anand is currently struggling in the middle of the pack in Wijk. Just because Kasparov lost the dominance he once had (and any claims to preferential treatment, unless he gets active in the tournament cycle and repeats his feat of those years) does not mean Anand replaced him.

The best thing Mig said in his last post was, "Pono should have been replaced by Ivanchuk immediately". I completely agree. Why didn't FIDE give Ivanchuk a chance, especially since he was left out of the Dortmund qualifier precisely due to agreements with FIDE? I can't help but feel that FIDE had some reason to boycott Ivanchuk at the time. I can't imagine anyone (other than FIDE and Pono) being against this quick and dirty solution.

The Ukrainians were out of money after paying it to Ponomariov. Hard to come up with more for another Ukrainian after getting nothing from the first one!

Pavani, I don't understand. It's over. You don't seem to understand the point of unification at all. It was to have the world #1, the FIDE champ, and the classical champ. Now the #1 is out and the classical champ is out. It's OVER.

Who was jumping for joy about Prague? It was the best we could come up with at the time. I've called it everything from crappy to unfair. The bottom line was always that it was better than nothing because the point was to unify the title quickly and then create a cycle to qualify for that unified title, which would attract all the players and more sponsorship than the divided titles. What changed overnight? Well, on Tuesday night the second of the three players involved dropped out, maybe you heard about it.

Tell me how Anand playing anyone right now achieves unification of anything. And who said urgent? Why pretend this is a conversation if you have both sides by yourself? The only urgency stems from needing to plant the seed of something sane before FIDE pulls something bizarre that ignores Kramnik and won't help at all.


say for hypothetically Kasparov -kasim match takes place and even Kaparov wins he is likely to loose #1 rating to anand(he has to score something like +6 to keep rating) . In that scenario #1 player excluded do u think unification will be of any value ?

Who is not happy with KO execpt Kramnik and Kasparov. how many other top GM are against it
? I believe everyone else participated in 2000 & 2002. Its not a perfect system atleast it gives all GM fair chance at getting title better than anything they can have now.

Mig said, "The point of Prague was unification of the classical title (Kramnik), the FIDE champion (Ponomariov), and the de facto and de jure number 1 player in the world (Kasparov)."

He also said, "It's over. You don't seem to understand the point of unification at all. It was to have the world #1, the FIDE champ, and the classical champ. Now the #1 is out and the classical champ is out. It's OVER."

Neither of these statements are entirely true. The point of reunification (and the Prague agreement) was to bring about ONE recognized World Chess Champion. Kasparov was brought in only because everyone recognized that without him (the #1 rated player) there was no credibility. However, now that he is out, is it not over. If he is choosing not to play, that is his disicion (his problem). Life goes on.

I didn't say life on Earth was over. I said the Prague agreement is over and that unification plan is over.

You confuse, or assume I do, the desired result of Prague with the method. Of course the goal was a single unified champion. The concept of the agreement was to do so with those three players.

Of course life goes on. It's how we choose to go on.

Let's suppose for a moment that due to a God's iracle of God the title unification process has been successfully completed.
Now we have a mister K. unique champ.
Is FIDE going to organize a new KO at the end of 2005?
Or a classical match between the champ and a new challanger?
If FIDE will choose the KO (in IRAQ I suppose)will mr K. the unique champ play it?

Or will he choose another challange for a well payed classical match in the same days of the FIDE event?

Then we'll have again the two champs; and if none of them has the world rating 1 we can even have 3 again.
So another unification process will start.
Good! We'll see unification title process for all our life and blog about it for ever.

That is true, if the top players themselves disagree on what format will result in a legitimate champion, nothing can be achieved. Kasparov and Kramnik probably will not accept the FIDE KO as a legitimate format.

Meanwhile, after the Lausanne incident Anand appears to be against any format where the champion simply waits for the winner of a candidates cycle - which is exactly what most people here crave for.

If these three players can't get in agreement, there is no unification no matter how much we whine about it. Top players (like Kasparov and Kramnik) have too much leverage to be left out of any unification process , and because of that both will want to impose their own terms and be unwilling to compromise and go with the majority (by, say, accepting the KO as a valid format).

I don't have a solution for the mess, but not sucking up to Kasparov's or Kramnik's demands might be a good start.

Forgive me for asking a terribly naive question:

If FIDE were suddenly to announce a return to the classical WCh format, complete with zonals, would anyone here have a problem with that?

We keep worrying about what process is fair to which player. It's unbelievable. I used the FIFA/World Cup comparison in a different post, so forgive me for recycling it here: who cares if Brazil or Germany or England make the World Cup final game or not? They all know they have one shot every four years. If you lose, too bad. See you in four years. Missed a penalty kick? Too bad. See you in four years. It's the process and the games that are important, and that's why fans celebrate the event itself as much as whether their country actually wins. It's recognized as fair and legitimate.

If Kramnik, Kasparov, Anand all participated in a resurrected three-year cycle, and if NONE of them came out on top, would anyone here seriously argue that the winner would NOT be legitimate because he wasn't ALSO the highest rated player in the world? And if they didn't participate... too bad. See you in three years. Life and the game goes on.

Really, FIDE must return legitimacy to the process by dumping the stupid KOs, dumping its practice of favoring "celebrity" players at the expense of its own credibility and mainstream press coverage, and get back to generating an event we can all follow and blog about and post-mortem for three years at a time.

It's hard to believe, but we would be most of the way through a three-year cycle by now if we had started one when Prague was signed. How depressing is that?!

I am curious, does anybody here consider Alekhine or Lasker illegitimate chess champions? The reason I ask is that certainly in the former's case, he didn't defend the title against the strongest chess players of his time and the latter handpicked many of the challengers. Yet I wouldn't consider either one to be illegitimate or questionable: they beat the best and were the best.

People who argue in this forum and try to create a system forget one basic but very relevant concept: Legitimate World's Chess Champion is not necessarily the world's best player. Strongest team does not always win World Cup, NBA Finals or Wimbledon, and nobody questions the outcome, because the competition is fair, measures ability to play the sport (rather than say a particular aspect such as blitz) and all the best are invited. Like Bob Stein so well put it, "Too bad. See you in four years."

I believe that the reason for the current situation is that the world does not have a clearly established #1: Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand have done their share of dominating, and there are months when Leko and Topalov have put forth reasonable claim of being in the same league.

I believe reasonable demands of the chess cycle are that the champion defend title fairly frequently (once every 3 years is enough), that the challenger be one of world's top ten players and that the final challenge take form of classic chess match. I believe that Kasparov should have gotten a rematch after London 2000, (that, probably more than his #1 status is why he got preferential treatment in Prague) but that now it has been too long for him to demand special rights.

I believe that a Dortmund 2002 (I think that was the year) but with a more extended playoff is the ideal way to determine the challenger. I believe that a challenger being determined in a less than ideal manner is no reason for the champion to refuse to play him.

Who is with me?

"Kramnik has already said he wouldn't play the winner of Kazimdzhanov-Kasparov so what exactly would the point of Kazimdzhanov-Anand be?" Not that it matters much, Mig, but if you read his statements carefully Kramnik did not rule out playing the Kazim-Kasp winner. He said that playing such a match was, in itself, pointless. He left open the possibility that if playing such a match lead somehow to a speedier creation of a new championship cycle he might hold his nose, as he did at Prague, and play.

From many of the posts I read here and in other threads and in other forums entirely, I see many fall into the trap of putting the cart before the horse. Here, many of you speak of various ways of unification, arguing X should play instead of Y, or arguing tournament format X is better than format Y. This is the cart. You forgot about the horse, the moola, the driving force for which players will put aside their differences if the price is high enough.

I got news for you: the horse is dead. Many can argue till they are blue in the face that Kasparov shot the horse (Intel, IBM, GMA, PCA, suspect matches with Short and Kramnik, etc), but it won't bring the horse back to life. It is in the past and Kasparov is trying to make amends. The chess world should deal with the mess at hand rather than dwell on who is to blame.

With the horse dead, there is little point in talking about the cart until a new horse is found. That is, there is little point in talking about the details of this format or that, or who should or should not play, until money is found to drive whatever cart there is to drive.

We should examine why the Prague Agreement failed. Here is the "Fresh Start" by GM Seirawan that formed the PA, but I recall from memory it seems to have been edited and it is now more readable than the original but missing some insignificant points:


And here is the part, the false premise I mentioned in another thread:

"With FIDE sanctioning a stable, fair Classical Chess world championship, contested by all the leading players and administered by an independent Commissioners' Office, there is every reason to believe that commercial sponsors will enthusiastically support the new cycle. With the world's best players also competing in the Knockout/Rapid championship, that too is an event which can grow in stature and attract commercial sponsors. With the proper framework decided upon, sponsors will also be drawn to the idea of a Blitz championship." [Yasser Seirawan, conclusion of the "Fresh Start." - Feb 24, 2002]

The premise is, agree to the "Fresh Start" and sponsors will magically appear. The premise is found false during the execution phase of the PA when organizers discovered sponsorship was extremely difficult to obtain.

If you read the "Fresh Start" carefully, you will realize it deals exclusively with the "cart" and nothing of the "horse" except that it is assumed it will magically appear. It discusses nothing of how to obtain the horse, the funding. That is left to the organizers but the problem here is all the organizers are competing against each other for not only funding but for players and sanctioning organizations as well. And this is, IMO, the fundamental weakness of the PA, lots of cart but no horse (the cart itself is unfair, screwing Anand and Shirov and others for example, but I digress).

If there is a second "Fresh Start," there must be a mechanism in place such that funding is secured or it too will fail. Some starters:


Address the issue of competing organizers (and competing players and organizations). This means agreements of such things as tournament dates, supply of players, prize structure, title of tournament, Fide fees & taxation, etc. There has to be risk certainty (prizes, costs, taxation) and reward certainty (tournament dates, players, prestige) so that organizers can negotiate with perspective sponsors who in turn can work out certainties well in advance (useful for quarterly budgets, tax write-offs, etc).

As an example of an agreement, Tier 1 tournaments have a Tier 1 prize structure, Tier 2 tournaments with Tier 2 prize structure, etc. Also, Tier 1 tournaments are always held at certain dates, Tier 2 at other dates, etc. Additionally, Tier 1 players can only play a certain number of Tier 1 tournaments (so they don't hog all the Tier 1 tournaments) and must support a certain number of lower Tier tournaments (so lower Tier tournaments are guranteed a supply of elite players) to remain a Tier 1 player, and so on for other Tier players. The idea here is give the organizers some certainties so that they have the incentives to put together tournaments. Tier 4 tournament organizers have some chance of attracting elite players because they know Tier 1 players have to play a certain number of lower Tier tournaments to remain a Tier 1 player and this is quite an incentive, for example.

There should also be a standard appearance fee of players agreed to and published. Something like Tier 1 players get $5000; Tier 2, $3000; Tier 3, $1000, etc. This is extremely useful for organizers because they can plan for various kinds of tournaments well in advance. Right now, organizers have to email players they want to invite and enter into negotiations, a labourious task. This is good for the players also because some may ask for too low a price and some may ask for too high a price and may actually want to settle for less.

While the foregoing 3 paragraphs do not describe how to secure funding, they do provide the footsoldiers, the organizers, the incentive to look for sponsors.


As I mentioned in another thread in the DailyDirt, Fide should open itself up even more, to non-master players. Fide already charges rating fees, title fees, prize fund fees, and a number of other fees. Title fees are a one-time charge (GM title, $500 Swiss Francs, FM title, $100 Swiss Francs, etc) so this is peanuts. Rating fees are small when we consider the pool of ratable players. This means Fide probably gets most of its money from the tax on prize funds. It is easy to see how this tax irks organizers when they see this tax money going to players in the PA when the agreement may not be legitimate at all. By the way, the Prague Agreement also screwed organizers (through the Fide tax on the prize funds) because they didn't get a say.

By opening up to the non-masters, there is a much larger pools of players for which to collect fees from. Most players I know prefer a Fide rating to their local or national rating, yet to obtain one is difficult. Presently, local organizers have to arrange for a special Fide-rated tournament, inviting Fide-rated players which is difficult in itself, so that their non-Fide-rated players can obtain a Fide rating. The alternative is for the player to play abroad at much personal cost. With Fide opening up to non-masters, a local player can obtain a Fide rating easily just by playing in any local tournament and paying the appropriate fees to Fide. Also, with [1] in place, a local player has the incentive to move from a low Tier to a higher Tier and eventually earn the right to play in higher Tier tournaments where prize money is larger, and even earn the right to appearance fees. The fees paid over the years to Fide is much smaller than the cost of air fare abroad. This means the cost of turning pro for a young player is much cheaper.

There is the phenomena of young players leaving the game when they reach college age because there is no future in chess. This is one reason national organizations are suffering. With [1] and [2] in place there is reason to stay in the game longer. This leads to a healthier national organization, a healthier Fide, and ultimately, healthier elite players.


Another source of revenue for Fide is the tax on magazines, books, databases, chess programs, chess sets, other chess business etc. Fide and elite players should seriously discuss the issue of intellectual property and ways to enforce ownership. Since chess businesses depend on the survival of the elite players, Fide should get a cut in the revenue. We see this in other enterprises. Electronic Arts has paid $$$ for exclusive rights to make games featuring NFL and AFL players. I can name hundreds of other examples. Why is it so hard to accept Fide should be in the business of selling rights?


The Internet. If chess tournaments can be held via the web and the cheating issues solved, it would be a boon for chess. Right now, webcams are pretty cheap, around $ 30-50 USD. I suggest players who want to play via the web three webcams be self-installed at the player's home such that s/he can be verified through the webcams that no cheating is taking place. For privacy, let only the TDs and assistants access to webview. Cheating can still occur by having the cheat feed the webcams a movie, but that is defeated by having the TD ask the cheat to wave to the webcam at random moments. I think this is a good solution to the problem of internet cheats. Unfortunately, the drawback is only cable/dsl/T1 (broadband) subscribers can make use of webcams. Dialups will lag.


If [4] is implemented, there are natural sponsors to be had. When a player is playing a tournament via the web, he is stuck at the keyboard and monitor most of the time, save a trip to the washroom and the occasional fridge raid. This means a captive audience and advertisers may want to advertise on a part of the monitor while the player is playing. Fide can set advertising rates. I think there is significant revenue here, as the player is stuck at the monitor for five hours.


Expand to chess variants. Fide should provide titles and ratings to chess variants such as bughouse, losers, blitz, active, kriegspiele, crazyhouse, etc, and also provide similar tournament structures (Tier types, Tier players, etc). This means an even larger base of players to which fees can be collected. At the moment the number of chess variant players is small, but under Fide sanctions it would grow rapidly.

In short, there should be a major meeting between Fide, other organizations, elite players, and organizers, perhaps at the next Fide Congress, to discuss finding a new horse, the funding problem. The six points can be implemented by any other organization if Fide is too much of a mess. The ACP, for example, can take the reins, if they open up to all players, not just the elite as it is now.

Sorry about the long post and thank you for reading.

The exact words form Kramnik, published in an interview in Chessbase, were: "Kasimdzhanov, of course has earned the match against the great player Kasparov. But whatís very unclear is for what reason will they be playing a world championship match".

I agree with Mig in this point. It will be beautiful if Kramnik a) does not understand why he should play the winner of Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov for the title, and b) suddenly understands why he should play Kasimdzhanov, or the winner of Anand-Kasimdzhanov, for the same title.

N+Bdblchk, I unfortunately believe that the current FIDE leadership is uanble to implement any of your ideas. But I agree with you that the horse is dead, and that the discussion in which many - including myself - took part is pointless without a commercial structutre.

dear mig,

your opinions about this so called 're-unification match' burn my nose with the stench of sewage in summer.

i hope kasparov pays you well since trickery and greed seem to be your main motive.

i will be glad when you both dis-appear from the chess scene.

At Prague, Kramnik essentially said, "This smells, but I'll sign on if it jumpstarts a new cycle."

In the quote you cite, edu, Kramnik essentially reiterated: "This smells..." [he did not rule out playing the Kasim-Kasp winner.]

If a Kasim-Anand match (or any other event, for that matter) somehow jumpstarted a new cycle, Kramnik would not be inconsistent in responding, "This smells...but I'll play."

It being extremely unlikely that a Kasim-Anand match could catalyze a new cycle, I'd expect Kramnik to attempt to invite all the top players and organize the fairest format possible within the funding available, as he tried to do with Dortmund 2002.

White: If you have any serious thoughts of being invited to join The Kasparov/Mig Bashclub, an organization with the highest moral and journalistic standards, you'd better clean up your act.

Ah yes, greed! I've been found out. It's amazing I can run this free site and the free message boards what with most of my time going toward counting my millions. And what would trickery be a motive for, exactly? I.e, I do what I do out of a sheer desire to trick people?

Greg, it isn't helpful to play dumb about what Kramnik meant when he said that Prague was over and he saw no reason to play the Kasparov-Kasimdhzanov winner. No need to pretend for the sake of argument when we have so many real things to argue about. And since when did Kramnik have anything to do with the Dortmund format? Know something the rest of us don't? And what does "fairest" mean when applied to Dortmund? It's format wasn't any "fairer" than the year before and the year after. And who picked the Dortmund field, by the way? Ahem.

To skip these silly details, we need to go broader. Should we prefer another quick-and-dirty solution (e.g. Linares winner plays Kramnik in 2006 or something like that) or do we give up on FIDE if they don't just recognize Kramnik?

1) "Greg, it isn't helpful to play dumb about what Kramnik meant when he said Prague was dead and he saw no reason to play the Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov winner." Since Kramnik didn't say those things, Mig, I don't know how to respond to your comment. Kramnik (and most everyone else) criticized Prague but Kramnik never ruled out playing a Kasim-Kasp winner.
Interviewer: I understand one thing from our conversation; a unification match will not take place.
Kramnik: Why? If FIDE is ready to [sic] a civilized dialogue, then for my part I am also ready. --Chessbase News 10/27/04

2) "What did Kramnik have to do with Dortmund 2002? Know something the rest of us don't?"
Kramnik asked the Dortmund organizers to make the Dortmund 2002 tournament into the qualifier for the next BGN World Championship. --Chessbase Magazine Extra 85.

3) "And what does 'fairest' mean when applied to Dortmund? Its format wasn't any 'fairer' than the year before and the year after."

Dortmund 2001: A ten-game double round robin.
Dortmund 2002: Two groups of four play a double round-robin. The top two in each group play 4-game semi-final matches. The winners play a 4-game final match.
Dortmund 2003: A ten-game double round robin.

The four-game-match format was Dortmund 2002's attempt (criticize it if you like) to choose the most capable world championship candidate given that the sponsorship money was limited.

4) "And who picked the Dortmund field, by the way. Ahem."

The sponsor chose local favorite Lutz. The other seven Dortmund candidates were the top-rated players in the world, excluding Anand and Kasparov, who declined their invitations, and Kramnik, the world champion. Ahem.

I hope we are at the end of this reunification carnival ... Anand will never jump in Kasparov shoes against Kazim , Kramnik is happy not playing ... time to start from scratch , a tournament and a final between the two first and a champion ...hopefully

A quick (but far from ideal) way to unification:

"Kramnik: For the sake of discussion (although I understand that itís not in the interest of several people) I believe that instead of Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov match we aught to hold a match tournament with the participation of Kasparov, Kasimdzhanov, Anand, and Ponomariov, and the winner will play a match against me.

Q: I donít know if Kasimdzhanov will go for it, but one person who would definitely not Ė is Kasparov!

Why, he is a fighter. If we want to unify, then we need to resolve our old grudges. Anand, Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov and Kasparov as a legendary player. This would be an ideal solution to all conflicts."

To increase the legitimacy of the tournament, add Leko, Topalov, etc. (but also: the more players, the more difficult to organize).

The problem with a new cycle is precisely that the "old grudges" are not addressed.

Regarding the involvement of FIDE, could it be that Al Capone simply scares potential sponsors away?

Why not have a candidates tournament Zurich 2006?! Winner plays Kramnik it seems simple enough. Anand would play and so would most people. Who is the obstacle... the great Kaspy, who thinks he need not qualify and is entitled to a rematch(maybe he is right on this point!? Kramnik should have given Kasparov a rematch). But my point is that if Kasparov had played Dortmund we would not have had this problem. All in all, Kasparov should just realize that this is his best chance to win the championship and go for it. This would in turn establish a reputable candidates cycle in which to judge future champions.

List of events that, had they turned out differently, could have resulted in a higher chance of a steady reunification process:

1-Prague being signed in 2001 when Anand was the WC
2-KO 2002 won by Anand or Ivanchuk instead of Ponomariov.
3-Kasparov participating in Dortmund 2002, possibly winning then facing Kramnik.
4-Ponomariov not refusing to sign for the Yalta match.
5-Related to the previous one: Yalta sponsors not advancing money to Pono so they would still have it for a Kasparov-Ivanchuk match after Pono's refusal.
6-Topalov or Adams winning the 2004 KO instead of someone from a country without sponsors (Kazimdzhanov).
7-Leko defeating Kramnik in Brissago and having a more compromising attitude towards reunification.

Any additions to this list?

hmmm...no new comments on any of the daily dirt posts for several hours. This useless post is just checking if there isn't a problem...

I see that Kramnik repeats his proposal of a match tournament in the NIC interview which is now up at chessbase.com :

"Kramnik: I believe there should be a clear cycle and the winner plays the world championship. Everything as it was for many many years.

Q: And this is something the ACP should do together with FIDE or if FIDE doesnít cooperate you will go your own way.

K.: ... In my view the best solution now would be to have a four-player tournament with Kasimdzhanov, Kasparov, Anand and Ponomariov. The winner plays against me for the unification. I think this would be the only solution to finish all conflicts. Ponomariov was a strange story. You may like him, blame him, but he was really treated badly. Vishy was simply thrown out for no reason and he shows brilliant results. This would be a solution to finally solve all the problems.

Q: And this would be acceptable to you.

K.: Yes, yes. I would really like to see this because I believe it is the only solution to all the fights. This is a way to satisfy everybody and after this we start a new world of chess from zero. But this is just a dream, in reality I am afraid it will not happen. Itís not in the interest of some people."


Although I don't enjoy Kramnik's style of play, I agree with his words in the latest interview posted on chessbase.com. There truly is no point in any match without a cycle being put in place. The mess would just continue after the 'reunification match'! A true cycle must be put into place and it must be a legitimate cycle, not one with rapid chess time controls.

I don't see why Kasparov would not participate in a match tournament to determine a challenger for Kramnik. He would be roasted alive by all of us (even MIG perhaps?) if he refused. I don't see why the match should just have Anand, Kasim, Pono, and Kasparov in it though. Why? The FIDE knock-outs were jokes, especially the last one with the Israelis left out. I think it should be the top ten minus Kramnik and with Kasim and Pono thrown in. A double round robin. If there is a tie then mini-matches of 6 games resolve the tie.

But a cycle must be in place.

Note that one of the main ideas behind the quick unification as designed in Prague was that it would be much easier to find sponsorship for a cycle if the title were already unified. It's hard to sell something as chaotic as the situation we've had for the past few years. Without stability and contracts, sponsors don't know what they are paying for. Nobody knows who will or won't show up at which stage, etc.

I think we all know what Garry's opinion is regarding playing in a qualifying tournament to reach Kramnik. But it's not as if he's claiming a title. If he doesn't like the conditions and doesn't want to play, it's his prerogative. He's been saying for the past four years that he doesn't think he should start below Kramnik, and while I don't agree with him, I don't know if he's going to change his mind if a real qualifier shows up. But I think it would depend on many factors, such as format and duration and money. KO, forget about it.

Perhaps the example set by Karpov could inspire Kasparov, as funny as that sounds. Karpov fought through candidates matches several times after losing the title. Well, actually he only did it once, since there was a rematch in 86 and a parachute drop entry into the candidates final in 87, but in 90 he had to win three matches.

Off the top of my head Karpov is the only former champ to qualify for the world championship again. Botvinnik always had rematches, Smyslov didn't make it back after losing the title, nor did Tal.
Smyslov and Korchnoi got through multiple times, as did Spassky. Hmm, Karpov in 1990 was about the same age as Kasparov is now... Might be a worthwile stick to sharpen to poke Garry with.

I don't know, MIG, I think money would be pretty easy to find for a tournament such as I described in the post above yours. Get those top ten players together with Kasim thrown in and I think that will generate a lot of interest from everyone in the chess world. Then, once a challenger for Kramnik has been determined, the cycle for world championships should be developed and put in place before the actual world title match.

Deposed World Chess Champions: Attempts to Regain Their Title by Playing Qualifiers

Smyslov (lost title in 1958 at age 37)
--Interzonal tournaments 1964, 1970, 1973, 1976, 1982, 1987, 1990, 1993 (age 72!)
--Candidates Tournaments and Matches 1959, 1965, 1983, 1985

Tal (lost title in 1961 at age 25)
--Interzonal tournaments 1964, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1990 (age 54)
--Candidates Tournaments and Matches 1962, 1965, 1968, 1980, 1985

Botvinnik (lost title in 1963 at age 52)
--retired from Championship competition

Petrosian (lost title in 1969 at age 40)
--Interzonal tournaments 1976, 1982 (age 53)
--Candidates Matches 1971, 1974, 1977, 1980

Spassky (lost title in 1972 at age 35)
--Interzonal tournaments 1976, 1982, 1985 (age 48)
--Candidates Matches 1974, 1977, 1980

Fischer (lost title in 1975 at age 32)
--retired from Championship competition.

Karpov (lost title in 1985 at age 34)
--Candidates Matches 1986 (seeded into final), 1989-90. 1991-92
--Various FIDE Championship Events

Kasparov (lost title in 2000 at age 37)
--Various FIDE Championship non-Events

(I was too lazy to compare birthdates with tournament and match dates so ages may be off by a year.)

For the interested, here is a short synopsis of the World Championship history.

1993 - Kasparov-Short PCA WC Match, Kasparov won. GM Keene the engineer of the PCA WC. This match was the result of complaints against Fide corruption and incompetence (truth of which was debatable), and this was the match that produced the first non-Fide World Champion in modern times (there were World Champions before Fide even existed). This match was also the hijacked Fide World Championship match because Kasparov was reigning Fide World Champion but decided to play under the PCA.

1993 - Karpov-Timman Fide WC Match, Karpov won. This match was held at the same time as the 1993 Kasparov-Short PCA Match. What was bizzare about this match was both Karpov and Timman were defeated by Short in the Fide WC cycle, and since this was so, why wasn't Short declared the Fide World Champion (Kasparov, by refusing to play under Fide and playing the WC under PCA essentially lost the Fide WC title, much like Fischer had)? And if not Short, why wasn't Timman declared Fide World Champion because Short defeated Karpov before defeating Timman?

1995 - Kasparov-Anand PCA WC Match, Kasparov won. Anand jumped through the hoops only to face a well-rested Kasparov waiting for him. Tidbit: Anand defeated Kamsky in the Final.

1996 - Karpov-Kamsky Fide WC Match, Karpov won. Karpov was seeded directly into the Final, defeating Gelfand, while Kamsky jumped through all the hoops.

1998 - Karpov-Anand Fide WC Match, Karpov won. Anand won the 1997 Groningen Fide Knock-out tournament, defeating Adams in the Final. Karpov was well-rested, waiting for Anand. After 1997 Groningen, Fide Knock-out tournaments would produce Fide World Champions instead of just the Challenger (Anand).

1998 Feb-Mar - World Chess Council was founded by Kasparov and Luis Rentero (Linares sponsor) during 1998 Linares. Kasparov also founded the GMA, PCA, and ECU (European Chess Union) and all eventually folded. The sole purpose of the WCC was to create a challenger for Kasparov because the PCA was all but dead (Fide still existed but not recognized by Kasparov). The WCC had chosen by arbitrary means, Kramnik and Anand, who were the co-winners of the January 1998 Wijk Aan Zee, to play a match, the winner of which was to face Kasparov in the World Championship Match outside of Fide. But there was a complication: Anand had a contract with Fide and was to honour that contract. Shirov was then chosen to replace Anand in the match with Kramnik. All three players, Kramnik, Anand, and Shirov were all arbitrary choices in the creation of a challenger for Kasparov.

Also during this time, Luis Rentero lost control of the Ministry for Sports and Tourism in Andalusia to the opposition, whom refused to support the WCC financially. Later, Kasparov was to have trouble securing sponsorship from Spain.

1998 June - Shirov-Kramnik World Chess Council Match to produce a challenger for Kasparov was won by Shirov. Kramnik received $200,000 USD but Shirov never received a cent.

1998 Oct - Kasparov-Shirov World Chess Council World Championship Match was cancelled by Kasparov for lack of sponsors. During match negotiations, Shirov apparently turned down a $600,000 USD offer from California to stage the match there, out of greed perhaps as Shirov himself said in a Feb 1999 press conference the prize fund was too low.

1999 June - A Kasparov-Anand World Championship Match (arbitrary title, under no official organization, non-Fide) was announced, sponsored by Serge Grimaux (organizer of the EuroTel tournaments) for a prize fund of 3 million USD, to be held in October. This forced Anand to decline a Fide contract to play the Fide World Championship Knock-out tournament in Las Vegas, July-August. The arbitrary selection of Anand was an insult to Shirov, who won a qualifying match against Kramnik, but Shirov himself was one of three arbitrary selections of candidates to play Kasparov (the other two were Kramnik and Anand). Shirov released a press statement on June 16 that basically stated Anand had less legitimacy to play Kasparov than he did.

1999 August - Khalifman won the 1999 Fide World Championship Knock-out tournament in Las Vegas. Anand didn't play but Shirov and Kramnik did. Karpov did not play due to a dispute with Fide over: 1) Karpov was supposed to retain the title for 2 years (he won the year before), 2) play the winner of the knock-out as in 1997, 3) not be seeded into the 1999 tournament. Karpov won a $50,000 USD compensation against Fide Jan 9/2001 in the Court of Arbitration in Switzerland.

1999 Sept - Kasparov-Anand World Championship Match (non-Fide) was either cancelled or postponed for lack of sponsors. There was a rumour the cancellation/postponement was due to conflicting sponsors between Kasparov backed Microsoft and some unnamed Silicon Valley sponsor. What was clear was there were no sponsors, as Serge Grimaux stated in a press release dated Oct 1, 1999. Anand was compensated with $200,000 USD by EuroTel (unconfirmed) but Shirov was yet to be compensated for his match with Kramnik.

2000 March - Kasparov-Anand World Championship Match (non-Fide) was announced by Mind Sports Organization which later became BrainGames, to be held in October. Anand was given until March 27 (the drop date itself was in dispute) to sign the contract but the match fell through when Anand demanded 300,000 USD in advance. Out of the blue, Kramnik was announced as the replacement for Anand. Kramnik, if you recall, lost a qualifying match to Shirov. If Anand was less qualified to play Kasparov, Kramnik was even less so - but, at the risk of repeating this, all three, Anand, Shirov, and Kramnik, were all arbitrarily chosen as candidates for the challenger role against Kasparov. Kasparov had to justify Kramnik as challenger in an April press conference, citing Kramnik's personal record against Kasparov was better than the others. Shirov responded to this with, "I do believe that the Kasparov - Kramnik match can not have anything to do with any kind of World Championship, be it official, historical, brain or whatsoever. I am the legitimate candidate for it since 1998."

2000 - Kasparov-Kramnik BrainGames WC Match won by Kramnik.

2000 - Fide WC Knock-out tournament won by Anand.

2001 - Karpov was compensated $50,000 USD in a dispute with Fide over the 1999 Knock-out tournament. Karpov didn't want to be seeded into the tournament and wanted instead to play the winner but Fide simply ignored him. The settlement recognized GM Khalifman as 1999 Fide World Champion - by implication, Karpov forfeited all claims to the WC title after this date.

2002 Jan - Fide WC Knock-out tournament won by Ponomariov.

2002 Feb - Fresh Start by GM Yasser Seirawan, the basis for the Prague Agreement

2002 May - Prague Agreement: Dortmund (to be held in July) was a qualifier tournament, the winner of which was to play reigning BrainGames WC Champion Kramnik; Ponomariov, the reigning Fide WC Knock-out Champion was to play Kasparov, who was defeated by Kramnik but the justification was Kasparov was/is the strongest player in the world; the winners of these two matches play the Unification Match.

2002 July - Leko won Dortmund qualifier for right to play Kramnik. Shirov played. Topalov lost to Leko in Final. Anand and Ivanchuk were invited but did not play due to contractual obligations to Fide.

2003 Aug - Fide announces 48 hour deadline for Ponomariov to sign for the match with Kasparov. Kasparov had agreed to terms unconditionally while Ponomariov wanted some conditions, claiming Kasparov had received preferential terms. Deadline passed and match cancelled.

2004 Oct - Kramnik-Leko Dannemann World Championship Match won by Kramnik. Sponsorship took two years to secure.

2004 July - Fide World Knock-out Championship won by GM Kasimdzhanov.

2005 Jan - Prague Agreement dead because 1) Fide failed to secure funding for Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov and 2) Kramnik waffling over playing the winner of Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov, citing he agreed to play the winner of Kasparov-Ponomariov, not the winner of Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov.





Plus a number of other articles but the above give links to those articles.

In view of the above synopsis, imo all the GMs and various organizations involved were at fault for the current funding crises and the WC mess in the chess world. Let's go over them individually:

1. Kasparov. He screwed up majorly when he created a number of organizations with the specific purpose of destroying Fide but did not build or replace what Fide had built: titles, ratings, affiliation with national chess federations. There was the Professional Rating, but his organizations also used Fide ratings. His organizations were basically the Big Boys Club, and thus was doomed to fail because the national chess federations were left out and whom continued to support Fide. To get into the Big Boys Club, one has to first become a super GM through Fide. No unknown is going to be invited to the Big Boys Club's tournaments.

2. Short. He screwed up when he agreed to play Kasparov. Had he not play, Fide would have forfeited Kasparov a la Fischer, and subsequent World Championships would be legitimate by force of precedence. The following years Kasparov would have been left out in the cold, much like Fischer, though Kasparov is a "playing World Champion." On a different level, no one can fault Short for taking the money.

3. Fide. Fide should have declared Short the World Champion in 1993 because Kasparov refused to play under Fide. Fide should have declared the match between Kasparov and Short just a regular match. This would have maintained consistency in Fide. Instead, Fide arranged for the farcical Karpov-Timman WC when both Timman and Karpov lost to Short. Why Yusupov was left out of the picture, the loser to Timman in the semi-finals, when Karpov was the other loser, to Short, in the same semi-final? The Karpov-Timman match had no legitimacy in any way, shape, or form, and had no precedent. Declaring Short the WC had precedence.

4. Karpov. He demanded and got extremely favourable conditions in 1997 from Fide, that the Groningen Fide Knock-out was to produce a challenger, not WC as in later years, to play him. Anand was that challenger, who promptly lost to Karpov after jumping through all the hoops. Karpov's incredible demands were to later leave a bitter taste in all GMs in the following years. Fide World Champions in the following years could cite the Karpov precedent to demand favours. To be fair, all Fide World Champions including Fischer demanded some advantages but only Fischer and Ponomariov were screwed.

5. The GMs. They participated in the GMA and PCA farces. They could have made those organizations work by instilling a system of government that included the grassroots (national federations and ordinary chessplayers). Instead, they just STFU, took the money, and played on both sides of the fence (playing in both Fide and GMA/PCA tournaments).

6. Shirov. Greed got the better of him when he turned down a $600,000 USD match. He should have realized his own legitimacy as challenger to Kasparov was in question. It was completely arbitrary that the WCC (the council) chose Anand and Kramnik as candidate challengers and it was even more arbitrary when Shirov became Anand's replacement. Shirov should have recognized he was johnny-on-the-spot and should have taken the money and run.

7. The GMS again. Where was the outcry of the complete BS that was the WCC (the council)? Why did the GMs allow the Shirov-Kramnik match to take place when they didn't know January 1998 Wijk Aan Zee was to produce challenger candidates for Kasparov? Had they known, perhaps some top GMs might have played differently. The GMs should have demanded a qualifying cycle.

8. Anand. He was one of many GMs who played both sides of the fence, participating in the 1995 PCA WC against Kasparov, in the 1998 Fide match with Karpov, and in the 2000 Fide Knock-out. His agreement in principle to play the 1999 Serge Grimaux sponsored match with Kasparov and later the 2000 MSO/Braingames match with Kasparov (both matches fell through) basically screwed Shirov and, more importantly, implicitly recognized Kasparov as World Champion. Later in 2000, Anand became Fide Knock-out World Champion. How did Anand reconcile the hypocrisy of participating in MSO/BrainGames, PCA WC match, Fide WC tournaments, only to dismiss the 2004 Fide Knock-out and Prague as not legitimate? By implicitly recognizing Kasparov as World Champion, he also recognized Kramnik as World Champion when the latter defeated Kasparov.

9.Kramnik. How is it possible for Kramnik to decline a match with the winner of Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov for legitimacy reasons when 1) he lost a qualifying match to Shirov and got $200,000 USD for it when Shirov got nothing, play Kasparov in 2000 only after Anand was forced out for demanding $300,000 USD advance (Why was Shirov not invited? Kramnik was stronger - Kasparov), and playing the Dannemann match with Leko *knowing* Fide forfeited Ponomariov a month before? If Kramnik knew about the Ponomariov forfeiture, what was the Dannemann match about, just money and not unification? Kramnik's only source of legitimacy before the Dannemann match was he defeated Kasparov in 2000, and *nothing* else.

10. Seirawan. He spent his "Karma Points," which he had earned through years of hard work and good will he poured into the chess world through supporting many local tournaments, writings, Inside Chess, and supporting various Kasparov adventures (GMA, PCA, etc), on the Prague Agreement. The PA was fatally flawed in so many areas. One big flaw was, why was Kasparov to play a Fide World Champion and not Kramnik? Afterall, there was disunity in the non-Fide WC title. Shouldn't the disunity in the non-Fide WC issues be resolved first, that Kramnik and Kasparov play and the winner of which play the winner of Dortmund (Leko) and the winner of that to play Fide WC (Ponomariov)? Anyway, the PA was extremely favourable to Kasparov, who obviously not only agreed to the PA but became an active seller of the PA. The PA screwed the organizers majorly because they didn't get a voice and they had to find funding for a bunch of suspect matches.

Conclusion. Everybody (or nobody) is at fault for the current mess in the chess world. IMO, there are only two solutions. One is to hold a tournament of champions plus some selected strong players. All the current and former WCs under whatever banner are invited, plus some players of the top 20. The tournament is a round-robin and the winner will be declared the unified WC. No advantages whatsoever be granted to any of the current or former WCs, Karpov precedent be damned. The other is let Fide continue doing whatever it is doing, holding knock-out matches, etc. Fide will eventually win because Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, and Shirov will all fade into the past, to irrelevancy as Fischer did, and Fide has a well-established system of government in place. All other competing organizations are doomed to failure if they continue to depend on Fide titles and players, and ignoring the national federations. The general chess public will always recognize the organization that recognizes them (through granting of titles and ratings, etc) and that organization is Fide, and not GMA, PCA, WCC, MSO, BrainGames, Einstein, or ACP. I favour the latter, though would like to see an Absolute WC tournament, because really, who cares if there is a Unified World Champion? There are no gurantees against another split after Unification.

The FIDE KO, is a crap does no way mean, the title Kramnik holds now is the ultimate OR REAL one.Noway.It may be a shade better than FIDE KO.(I doubt even this.Just whoever reached semis in Libya, are showing excellent results in the latest WAZ, thus vindicating the assumption that ,whatever be the format ,it is the best who can win always.).Why should we give any undue importance to either Kramnik or his title.Kasparov was perfectly right when he said--he wanted to start on par with Kramnik.Yes, that should be the criterion.Anand,Kramnik,Kasparov,Leko,Topolov,Kasim must all start at same level and play it out.The winner is the ultimate/unified/real champion.Sport should be bigger than individuals.If some of those guys think themselves above the rest,just do away with them.Chess can survive .

i really find it ridiculous that all of a sudden someone is trying to claim Kramnik didn't actually mean he wouldn't play winner of Kasp-Kasim match...i suppose it was an incredibly clever move from Kramnik to be just so ambiguous in his statement regarding the matter that he could claim having been misunderstood in case he all of a sudden saw personal gain in actually playing the winner. Yet another brilliancy by the reigning WC for sure!

All throughout the history of chess, the WC has been someone superior to the rest of the players (please God, no arguments about Alekhine or Botvinnik or Bronstein, look at the bigger picture, and if you read on, it's not relevant in this case), Kramnik has never shown any kind of dominance. Kasparov and Anand are dominating chess at the moment, though i am less than impressed with Anand's current performance. If there ever were in the history someone who could've also deserved the WC title, like in Botvinnik's case Bronstein was at least as good as him, it was always between them. My point is, at the moment Kramnik's WC title is worth nothing...he lacks WC's dominance (nor would he be the legitimate WC's only real contender, the "Bronstein") on the field.
And herein lies the wisdom of Kasparov-Kramnik match, even if for the moment it excludes Anand, that is only temporary. But if Kramnik won, his WC title could be taken more seriously, and he could go on battling against Anand; and if he lost, then basically everything would be solved and Kasparov would defend his title against Anand.

This is my very personal view and i don't expect much support, but as far as i'm concerned, Kramnik may be WC in name, but he is WC in name only. Good player, certainly, even brilliant. But not quite up there with Kasparov and Anand.

As for political side of all this, Fide et cetera...i've no solution to that, nor is it very interesting. It's of course reality that chess also has it's own chess politics, but...maybe Fide could just comply and have a fresh start, too. It would give them credibility for admitting their mistakes etc.

There are a couple of grammatical errors which I won't (can't edit anyways) bother to correct, but there is one error that is too misleading to go unfixed.

In my point 9 regarding Kramnik, Kramnik knew of the Ponomariov forfeiture a year before the Dannemann match, not a month before as I wrote.

N+Bdblchk says:
"Later in 2000, Anand became Fide Knock-out World Champion. How did Anand reconcile the hypocrisy of participating in MSO/BrainGames, PCA WC match, Fide WC tournaments, only to dismiss the 2004 Fide Knock-out and Prague as not legitimate? By implicitly recognizing Kasparov as World Champion, he also recognized Kramnik as World Champion when the latter defeated Kasparov."

No doubt Anand can not claim FIDE KO champions are only real champions .Sameway Kramnik too can not say his is the real championship title either.He too tried in FIDE KO's albeit failed to achieve anything big as always.
Point is--there are credibility issues for both the tiltles.Anand,Kramnik,Kasparov all did what was supposedly best to them.But the difference is while Anand has no ihibitions and no toll claims demanding a previllaged position and he didn't mind starting from first round being the defending champion, others leveraged their position just way too much.Thats why I respect him more.I listen with suspicion when Kramnik talks about principles etc...instead of playing with the best available arround.

"i really find it ridiculous that all of a sudden someone is trying to claim Kramnik didn't actually mean he wouldn't play winner of Kasp-Kasim match..."

sacateca, if you had actually read his post-Brissago statements, you wouldn't find it the least ridiculous, because he never said he definitely wouldn't. What is ridiculous here is relying on hearsay.

Any responses to Vladimir Kramnik the painter? I actually felt like the interview helped me understand Vlad a little better. If he in a certain position doesn't feel captured by it, he can give a draw. He plays chess for himself much in the way that we play chess for ourselves.Now of course this is bad for the spectators or for the publicity of chess, but would him playing on unispired or sick even really have a much better effect. I think not. Maybe chess is just destined to never be as popular as people on this site seem to hope. Or at least it won't be due to Vladimir Kramnik.

acirce: But he did say, clearly and without interpretation, that he saw his match with Leko as an individual match, and not being compelled to taking part in the planned reunification for which he knew the match was supposed to be a prelude to. This can be twisted around, i see how, but it's simply a rotten thing to do from Kramnik. He knew, everybody knew, but he acts like he's higher.

i never believe chess could be popular, btw. Actually, i hope it never will be. To popularize chess it would have to be whored...people don't like watching long times, so let's lessen time controls and more emphasis on blitz...i understand of course it's in the best interest of commercial entities, like chessbase, to popularize chess and to act like it's a good thing, it's even in the interest of Kasparov, and this is one thing i think he's going to the wrong direction.

As for Kramnik's interview, he's obviously intelligent, but also takes himself very very seriously and is a bit full of himself. Also he does seem like an unpleasant person (but none of this is very important, i don't mean to put him down with these comments)...i actually agree with many things he says, it's just that he applied everything to himself without prejudice...there's no sense of irony in his interview, but complete self-justification. It's almost as if he thought of all those things for self-justification.


Yes, he said he was not *compelled* to. That's not to say he ruled it out. He didn't. In fact, just sitting down and play the match to "reunify", completely on FIDE's terms, would be nonsensical. Then FIDE would suddenly own the title, not *a* title, and they would be free to go on with their stupid annual KO's to replace the Steinitz bloodline system. How many would seriously like that? That is why Kramnik pointed out the blatantly obvious fact that FIDE hasn't fulfilled their part of Prague and that is why he called for a serious dialogue. I can see that many people were frustrated because it seemed the goal of reunification was so close, I was too, at first.

"On what conditions are you willing to play a unification match?

Firstly, we need to keep in mind the lessons of Prague, Prague agreements turned out to be a fiction. At least from the standpoint of FIDE. And now I need to seriously think how to fine-tune a dialogue with FIDE, in order to be sure that everything we agree upon will be carried out. Because unification itself is absolutely senseless, if it does not carry some positive changes. If we will have one champion, well-defined structure of world championships, everything guaranteed - then yes, this unification is imperative for the chess world. If none of this happens, then this unification will just be another fiction."


Anand is too much of a gentleman to get involved in world championship politics. He always has and continues to take the high road. The world continues to bicker on and on about this and that. Meanwhile, the class act that he is, Vishy lets his moves do the talking!

Posted by: Mig at January 22, 2005 02:12 PM

... Should we prefer another quick-and-dirty solution (e.g. Linares winner plays Kramnik in 2006 or something like that).....


ALL the top players would have a fair shot and we could decide on a fair long term cycle before 2006.

Heres an idea...considering the relative zugzwang of WC Chess, this may be as good as anything else proposed.

Use Linares 2005 as a qualifier for the next match with Kramnik. Consider the field....We have Kasparov and Kasimdzhanov so we put to rest the issue of their match. We have Leko and Adams, runners up from previous "cycles" (apples and oranges I know but their relative strength certainly justifies a presence). Anand will be there, can't imagine anyone having a problem with that. Topalov is #3 on the ratings list, hes in. So now we have #1, 2, 3, 5, and 7...Kramnik is 4 and Moro is 6...after Wik, Moro will fall and that means the worlds Top 6 plus the Fide champ are included in this resolution. Vallejo has 0 chance of winning but gets the honorary local spot to round out the field. Shirov and Ponomarev are the only ones who could possibly complain about not being included, all other recent "cycles" have been accounted for. Based on recent results, Shirov and Pono have very little chance of winning anyway.

This unifies the title and is along the lines of what Kramnik wants in a qualifier (I hate to cater to him but his paticipation is unfortunately necessary). This buys around 9 months to figure out future cycles as we prepare for and play a title match. Its not perfect but a qualifier with 5 of the top 6 plus the Fide champ is pretty comprehensive. This may be the only chance for most of the players to get a shot at the world champ....its on them if they refuse to play or make excuses after the fact. This is at least as legitmate as the way challengers have been determined in the past...the champions place will be earned OTB and justly solidified.

Perhaps the best part, all we really need is for Kramnik to endorse the idea and Fide is neatly removed from the picture...no paperwork, no negotiations. If the winner won't play, we go to the runner up and so on. One petite combination by the world champ (endorse the idea, play the winner) and we put the mess of the last few years behind us.


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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 21, 2005 11:47 AM.

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