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Corus Won't Bore Us

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Today's first round was as close as Corus comes to a boring day of chess. The sheer size of the event is what saves it. Having 14 players (Linares has seven) means a broader range of ratings and increases the chance that a few will be hot and a few will be cold. And having seven games each day means even if you have three pathetic draws like today you'll still have a few good games. (A full report with analysis will be up soon at ChessBase.com.)

Had FIDE not botched the handling of the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match - insisting it would be in January - Kasparov would be playing in Wijk aan Zee now. As he pointed out to me, it would probably have been the first time the top nine rated players in the world faced off in the same event.

Kasparov is also annoyed that Kramnik declined his Linares invitation this year. From what I can tell, his obsession with getting revenge against Kramnik isn't much shared in the chess world. Most fans will be more interested in his games against Anand, who has clearly surpassed Kramnik in the past year or two and has played better chess than anyone.


I like how the chessbase report lumps together Anand's and Kramnik's games as "pragmatic draws" as if those two games had anything at all in common except being, well, draws.

By my numbers, there have been two tournaments that (kind of) had the top nine rated players in the world:

Vienna 1882 had:
#1 Zukertort
#2 Blackburne
#3 Schwarz
#4 Englisch
#5 Mackenzie
#6 Chigorin
#7 Mason
#8 Winawer
#10 Paulsen

(missing #9 Rosenthal). However, Steinitz had been inactive for several years and thus was not on the list, but obviously he was one of the top nine players in the world at that time, so for all practical purposes the tournament did have the top nine players.

The other one would be the USSR vs. the World match in 1970. I don't have the FIDE ratings handy, but by my (latest) Chessmetrics ratings, that included:
#1 Fischer
#2 Korchnoi
#3 Spassky
#4 Petrosian
#5 Smyslov
#6 Stein
#7 Polugaevsky
#8 Larsen
#9 Portisch
#10 Geller
#11 Botvinnik
#12 Hort
#13 Taimanov
#14 Keres

However, Stein only played one game, and there were only four rounds total. So again, it's debatable whether this one counts.

Other than those two, the closest ever would have been Linares 1993 which had the top eight plus #10 and #11, missing only #9 Short. Also noteworthy, for having all of the top eight, were Nottingham 1936, AVRO 1938, Linares 1992, and Corus 2001, plus the 1982 Olympiad if you want to count that (where all of the top eight players played at least 7 games).

Regarding acirce's comment above: After the first round, Gruschuk-Anand was drawn on White's 22nd move, Short-Adams on Black's 23rd move, and Bruzon-Kramnik on Black's 26th move. Morozevich-Van Wely was drawn on White's 50th move and Sokolov-Leko was drawn on White's 51st move.

What they had in common was that you had two of the favorites making easy draws with black, passing up opportunities to sharpen play and clearly quite content about it. I didn't write it, but "pragmatic" seems spot on.

Interesting about 1882, thanks Jeff. I wouldn't include the ROW matches or other team competitions though. Even the FIDE KO formats would be dubious comparisons because the top players rarely face each other.

What's unfortunate about Kramnik's draw is that he drew the lowest rated player, and arguably the worst in the field. From now on, the competition only gets harder for Kramnik, who, more likely than not, ends up drawing most of his games. His other opportunity to clearly play for a win is probably against Short and Ponomariov. Let's hope he doesn't miss these chances.

Kramnik's best shot at victory is tomorrow against Topalov. The latter's nemesis used to be Shirov but Kramnik overtook that position in recent years.

One can always look at the games in the other sections on the main website. I followed the R+B vs R ending for a long time today in the B Section.

The moves in today's Grischuk-Anand, a draw, had all been played a year ago in Shirov-Anand, a draw. Was Anand justified today in replaying that old drawn game and leaving it to Grischuk to find an improvement for white?

Where was the fault in Kramnik's play today with black? Did he miss a move? Where? Did he fail to play on in a position that had life in it? [These are not rhetorical questions. I am a poor chessplayer.]

Since his victory in London 2000 no one has surpassed Kramnik in head-to-head match play. In tournament play, Anand has, in the past two years, surpassed Kramnik, Kasparov, and everyone else.

But Kramnik in his 2000 and 2004 matches played better than he'd been playing in tournaments. Kasparov in 2000 played worse than he'd been playing in tournaments. We have no recent example of Anand in a long match with a top player.

Since London 2000, where Kasparov-as-white got blanked and Kasparov-as-black gave up to Kramnik four won positions in the first five games, Kasparov has aged four years and has used up his time prepping for the aborted Pono match, writing and promoting his books, and advising Vladimir Putin.

In those four years Kramnik has been working on his game. Kramnik's opening experiments and the expansion of his repertoire will cost him rating points in the short run, but may pay off when he defends his title.

Kind of funny we were just discussing the R+B vs R ending a few days ago, only to see it in in Corus B, Kosteniuk-Onischuk and Kosteniuk won...

It is sad to read insults in chatbox dialogues regarding Kosteniuk. Many insult her looks and her recently awarded GM title. It wasn't just the kiddies doing this. There were vague references to Kosteniuk by famous GMs whom I won't name. The truth is, Kosteniuk has fought hard in nearly every single game she has played. She took risks. She shows up in every tournament she is invited, no chicken excuses. Look at her tournament record. She was badly beaten up in all of them, yet shows up for more pounding.

Beginning with her hard fought win against Onischuk, IMO she is running yet another brutal gauntlet to prove she's worth the GM title. I hope she finishes high in the standings, if only to silence her nasty critics.

No one exceeded Kramnik in match play?! How many matches? Two drawn ones! Oooh. Kramnik certainly didn't play better against Leko than he's played in many, many tournaments.

You're so caught up in digging for excuses for Kramnik's poor performances since 2000 that you didn't even mention he won Linares last year ahead of Kasparov. Kramnik's not a bad tournament player at all. He just doesn't score more than +3 because of his conservative style, and that isn't enough to win at Corus. But it's fine in just about every other event in the world.

What does London 2000 have to do with this thread on Corus? Your entire 3rd paragraph is bizarre. Putin?

VKW: The number of moves isn't too interesting. Look instead at, say, the amount of time used up, or the number of *new* moves. Anand's game was 22 moves, lasted for less than half an hour, and Anand himself only used around 5 minutes on the clock, because he didn't need so much to reach a position he had on the board in a game only last summer.

Kramnik's game on the other hand was a real fight, with Kramnik pressing from the beginning, making an interesting pawn sac, but with Bruzon defending well and perhaps even missing interesting counterchances. They seem to have left book before move 10, and they used up almost all their time, meaning it was a very real effort. (Yes, I do think they were actually using their time, not just staring in the roof.)

Indeed I don't see why Anand should be blamed for making a draw against Grischuk without playing any new move, the only one to blame is Grischuk for not trying to press at least a bit.
As for Kramnik, he played quite aggresively and had a good position as a result of Bruzon's too passive play as White, and indeed by the time they agreed the draw I thought black was still a bit better, though that's probably not the case. Anyway, he lost one of the a priori better chances to get the full point playing as black

Greg, I think Mig has got it right: if you actually look at in an objective fashion, Kramnik is really not that great. I for one would prefer to see Kasp vs Anand. Usually if one posts anything remotely pro kasparov here, there is a barrage of mail to suggest the writer is a blind kasparov fan.. well I'm not. If I'm a blind fan of anybody, its the peerless Mikael Tal. (For 3 reasons: his style, the fact that he did it with a constitution so poor that most others wouldnt have had the energy to brush their teeth leave alone become world champion, and he was an unparalleled gentleman.) By comparison Kasparov looks like a whining 3 year old. But he has a startling honesty on the Chess board, and amazing Chess knowledge. Just because Kramnik managed to beat Kasparov in a one-off match doesnt mean he negates all of Kasparov's achievements or automatically assumes his mantle of strongest player. Dont get me wrong, Kramnik is a VERY strong player, but I think his rating as the number 3 or 4 is accurate. What's relevant now is Kasp vs Anand, because they are clearly better than the rest.

Kramnik is in trouble against Topalov with white pieces. Kramnik is down on time and Topalov is counter attacking. Let's see if Topalov justifies his higher rating in the FIDE list.

Corus thread: Anand has clearly surpassed Kramnik. Kasparov is annoyed with Kramnik and wants revenge.

So-so tournament performances are an unreliable indicator of play in the most reliable test of who has surpassed whom: long matches. Can Anand surpass Kramnik (or Kasparov) by defeating players inferior to them?

There are plenty of reasons to think Kasparov will fare no better against Kramnik in a 2006(?) match than he did in 2000, including their relative age and how the two men have used their time since the last match. Re Kasparov's "advice" to Putin see the January 11 (or so) Chessbase link to Kasparov's open letter to the Russian president. Perhaps the ironic use of the word "advice" in my earlier post should have been signaled by quotation marks.

If Kasparov's justified suspicion of FIDE had persuaded him to insist on seeing the color of FIDE's money before he declined his Corus invite we'd now have the nine top players at that event. A great pity.

Kramnik's health issues are in focus once again. I'm really worried about this. When did he *ever* lose as White in 20 moves before? Because I don't believe that he has suddenly lost so much of his chess ability that he should be expected to lose miniatures as White now and then. There is something wrong here.

Greg, I wonder whether you have heard of a principle of economy in philosophy called Occam's Razor. It basically says you assume the simplest explanation that can be proved by the observations. For example, the duck test version of Occam's razor goes like this: If something walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, the probability is that it IS a duck. It could also be an alien from outer space celeverly disguised to look like a duck, but we have no way of proving it, and hence most people accept it to be a duck. Similarly it could be that the ELO system is somehow flawed so that Kramnik's unique talent is misrepresented, and that he really is the strongest player in the world, nothwithstanding recent mediocre results and an accompanying rating loss. You could carry the argument further and say even when he loses, its just really an example of his STRENGTH, we just have no way of knowing it, as we havent discovered the rationale of it yet. However I think most people would prefer to buy the other simpler explanation that he's an excellent player, but no more than 3 or 4 others, and probably less than the one person who has maintained an astronomical rating regardless of form loss, opposition, playing circumstances etc. I think you know who that person is :-)
Best, D

I think the only thing that is clear as to Kramnk v. Anand is that it is unclear. Mig is critical of Greg for bringing up things not related to Corus when his own article on WAZ says:
"Kasparov is also annoyed that Kramnik declined his Linares invitation this year. From what I can tell, his obsession with getting revenge against Kramnik isn't much shared in the chess world. Most fans will be more interested in his games against Anand, who has clearly surpassed Kramnik in the past year or two and has played better chess than anyone."

Mig I think your dislike of Kramnik blurring your perception. Are you even *aware* that you are throwing these offtpoic jabs at Kramnik? Becasue when people respond to them you act as if *they* are the ones goign off topic.

Rating lists vary depending on which one you choose. If you look at a rating list that only includes games where the players played people rated over 2700 I think Kramnik woudl be rated higher than Anand on just abotu any of them. Also I think the last time they played head to head was Dortmund. Anand won a rapid tiebreak - hardly proof he "clearly" surpassed Kramnik. The bottom line on all of this is that we need to have matches decide who is best. FIDE and now Kasparov seem opposed to this.

All this talk of Kasparov having an "off match" in 2000 and giving games to Kramnik is very funny revisionist history.

Am I the only one who thinks all of the talk about draws (who drew more games in the past 2 years? Who drew more games befor age 30? Did you know Kasparov's draws average an extra 2 moves more than Kramniks? etc. etc.) is getting a bit old? Sure sponsors are important and all but the bottom line is these players want to win this torunament. Riught now Draws are part of the strategy. Maybe chess tournaments will change some day but for now this is a fact.
Kramnik took allot of time to see what he could get in his 1st game. Its a joke for patzers to be second guessing a world champ in this game.

I hope Kramnik is not sick as well. I do not (and did not) expect him to do well in this torunament however. It appears FIDE will not cooperate with him in Putting together a world championship cycle. It has been months since he said he asked to talk with them about it and I havent' heard they "returned his call." Kasparov is also very anti ACP(God knwos why) so its not clear he will be helpfull to the situation. Accordingly Kramnik is left with allot of chess politics to deal with on his own and with a very young organization. Leko and Anand can just play the game so I think they have the best chances of winning.

Plus I agree becasue of Kramniks more conservative style he is a better bet in matches or Linares. He has never been good enough at beatign up weaker players to win a tournament Like WAZ. However this is a very strong tournament so his chances here are about as good as they get.

:-) Niceforking you have outdone yourself again.. Why dont you design a formula which gives Kramnik something like 3000, and the rest at most 2000 and less? You could factor in things like the position of the moon, the frequency of Kramnik's intake of shellfish, and anything else of course. Then you can use it as definitive proof of your arguments! Now isnt that good advice? Free too!

I agree with what Acirce previously said. It's hard to believe that the novelty Topalov introduced was that strong. Kramnik seemed to have started the game off on the entirely wrong foot.

My formula would be to have players play matches agaisnt eachother. But thanks to FIDE and Kasparov we don't have a match cycle. (Both of which are being far from cooperative in helping Kramnik accomplish his stated goal of a normal system like existed before 1993.)

So we are left with rating systems. There are several. Take a look at this one:


It is not clear to me that if you have two players of above 2700 strength that a rating system that only has games against players of 2700 or above woudln't be a better predicter of a match result. Ill leave the moon gazing to you. :)

Kramniks accomplish his stated goal? You mean doing everything in his power to avoid a unification match?

niceforkin, this is what I meant, glad you think its sound advice. What you need to do is devise a formula which always works in Kramnik's advantage. If he does less well than expected against players rated under 1700, neglect those games. If at some time in the future he does better, then by all means factor them in selectively. If he does better than expected against a certain class of ratings, or even a specific opponent, adjust the formula so it has a higher weighting. If he does less well, reduce the weighting. For example put in a subjective health factor which negates his loss to Topalov yesterday. You could start with a free award of 1000 points for being Kramnik, which after all is an amazing achievement. Happy hunting in Kramnik land my friend.

You can think that the person who put these ratings together just tried to make Kramnik look better all you want. However, many people are familiar with his views on chess and its hardly a pro-kramnik. If your only point is that he created that list to help Kramnik your wrong.

If you have some sort of actual logical response as to why taking someones performance rating agaisnt 2700+ opponents wouldn't be a good predicter of how they will do agaisnt 2700+ oponents I'd be interested in hearing it.

Brad majors
kramnik has said he woudl like a normal system like the one that existed before 1993. From what I can tell most chessfans want that. Why he gets so much grief from FIDE and Kasparov is really puzzling. Kasprov *seems* to think kramnik should just play the highest rated player (himself). FIDE appearaently wants to keep the KO systems they currently use.

Thats why I like kramnik. He wants to have a legitimate worl;d chmpionship sytem. That is also why I am disappointed in Kasprov and FIDE for not supporting him. If we are going to have a decent system everyone needs to cooperate.

Now with respect to kasparov he may not be agaisnt that type of system. However he attacks Kramnik in a BBC interview for not playing the worlds #1 or #2. Completely leavign out that he refused to play in the dortmund qualifier becasue the organizers werent sufficiently anti FIDE, and they didn't guarantee enough money for him. (see his agents press release) This may suggest he is against a candidates cycle and thinks he shoudl automatically be seeded into the finals as long as he is the highest rated player. I could be wrong on this but I never really heard what Kasparov thinks on this. its funny that he attacks Kramnik for not playign him when he refuses to compete for a match.

Dear Mig,
Let me put some dirt comments on your dirt blog ;-)
Is it possible you do not spend more than half of next article on Kasparov and on his opinion about events he does not participate in? I understand that being a friend, liason, and mental slave of such a genius is hard and challenging, but naming yourself an independent writer should put some responsibilities also.
But may be this just does not bore you?

Being Kasparov's friend gives me access that I share here. You should definitely go to another blog as quickly as possible if he bores you. This isn't an event or news site. Independent means I write what I want to write, and I do.

Of the nine Dirt items on the homepage right now, one is about Radjabov talking about Kasparov and this one (which is mostly a tourney discussion) answers the most common question I heard about Corus: why isn't Kasparov playing? The other seven, including the first Corus post, don't mention him. Perhaps you are over-sensitive?

I'm no longer Kasparov's biggest fan, but he obviously still occupies a very critical position in the chess world and I do like to know what the man is thinking.

So in contradistinction to Mr. Kosulin, I would like to encourage Mig to include MORE of Kasparov's thoughts and opinions, not less. In particular, I would be interested to know if Kasparov believes that his match with Kasim is going to take place? And if so, and Kramnik refuses to play the winner, what does Kasparov think should happen? These are critical questions and I wonder what Kasparov and the other top players are thinking on these issues right now.

Does anyone know what Kasimdzhanov´s point of view is on this whole reunification plan. He must be thrilled to get this opportunity, and what happens if he actually wins the match?

Kasimdzhanov is too much of a dark horse in the chess world and he definitely doesn't get the attention he needs. It's beneficial for him, right now, to agree with everything that Kasparov says or else he may, god forbid, be forgotten about.

He doesn't want to pull a Pono thats for sure. Win one tournament and get to play a match agaisnt a chess legend. Perhaps, (and I have to say "perhaps" because I am not the one to judge this) the best ever isn't a bad deal.

I say there is no point in any 'reunification' match if nothing has been done to set a true world championship cycle in stone. No one but FIDE (and perhaps a few players like Shirov) thinks that the FIDE knockout tournaments have any place in this. Most people seem to prefer some variation on the original cycles before Kasparov broke away from FIDE. The ACP and FIDE (or just the ACP alone if FIDE just keeps their head in the sand) need to hammer out rules for a true cycle. THEN I will care about a reunification match.

niceforkin, why should i apply logic when you dont? Your only defining characteristic is a slavish devotion to Kramnik. Anything you write is to promote him or put down kasparov. Facts go out the window and Logic is not important there. Oh and here's another one for the formula: why not award kramnik points when anybody anywhere defeats kasparov?? That's a good one!

Kasparov's opinion on unification and such will be clarified in dramatic fashion quite soon, likely today. He's simply tired of wasting time with it. Stay tuned.

Mig...that is quite a teaser. Consider me "tuned".

The official story will be up at ChessBase either tonight or tomorrow morning, although since I'm a sneaky guy I'll probably post it here first, along with the behind the scenes dirt of course. Let's just say I hope nobody booked a flight to Turkey already.

Here's my prediction re Garry's announcement:

"First let me say that I regret that urgent circumstances have dictated the timing of this announcement. It is not my intention to divert attention from the many fine players competing in the sensational Corus 2005 tournament.

A number of things have troubled me about my upcoming unification match against Kasim. While I'm technically the World's #1 rated player for the purposes of the Prague agreement I haven't been playing very much or very well lately and Vishy Anand has better results than I over the past few years. As a person of Jewish ancestry I'm also uneasy at the prospect of earning my shot at the unified title by playing the winner of a tournament from which my Israeli friends were excluded. And the lottery-style format of that event was hardly a credible means of choosing a World Championship candidate.

Finally, I acknowledge responsibility for actions which, despite my best intentions, resulted in the breakup of the World Chess Championship cycle and the current mess. I am therefore, with apologies for disappointing Kasim, abandoning my unpromotable match with him and am setting aside my book-writing and promotion opportunities for 2005 to work full-time on the reconstruction of a credible zonal-interzonal-candidates structure to spare yet another chess generation the unintended chaos occasioned by my breakaway from FIDE. I hope I will be ceded into the Candidates stage of such a cycle but stand ready to earn my place by competing in a zonal or interzonal event. Yours humbly, Garry."

He acknowledged responsibility a decade ago, and called it a mistake six years ago. You just want to keep hearing him apologize over and over again. Kasparov has been trying to unify the title and create a new cycle since Prague. Certainly he's done far more than any of the other principals. All it has earned him is financial loss and much grief from people for whom everything he does is wrong, even if it's what you say he should do. Now you want him to quit chess, live like a pauper, and do... what exactly?

He's not an organizer and, as you've always insisted, he has no official standing at all. He's just another player, right? Or does he now have super powers to make a cycle appear from thin air when Kramnik and FIDE both want other things? Kramnik is inert and FIDE just screws things up. Kramnik, who actually holds a title, has always insisted all he need do is play chess. For 20 years Kasparov has tried to do more. For the past two and a half years, since being courted by FIDE in Prague, it has been an exercise in frustration. It's over. Now everyone who has been whining that he's an obstacle can start whining that he's not doing enough. Greg has already started.

The Corus timing is not accidental. Kasparov is a chessplayer. He is shattered by standing on the sidelines watching a great event. Probably the most emotional I've ever heard him about anything chess-related.

Well this is great news I hope it is something constructive. Chess doesn't "need" anybody Bobby Fischer proved that, but if Kasparov is constructive it sure will help chess allot.

Many have accused me of being anti-kasparov and I guess I can only say compared to what? But anyway I hope he will explain what he was gettign at when he says things like this:

Inside chess 2004/7 on page 41
"I was very passionate and I still am very passionate, but now I can analyse my performance and while I see certain mistakes that I committed, I believe that my casue was right. By instinct I came up with right solutions. Now when I hear all these Lautiers and others talking about things that I promoted before they even made their GM norms, I want to laugh." The article makes it clear he is very critical of ACP.
The obvious question is: If ACP/ "these Lautiers and others" are trying to do the same things he promoted, and he was basically right, why is he so against it now? I really don't understand.

Anyway I am actually quite hopeful he will in fact say somethign positive. So I don't mean to be down on him.

If, after losing the World Championship in 2000, Kasparov had worked with generally reasonable individuals, Kramnik, Anand, Leko, et.al., to create a fair and principled cycle, Garry would probably have had to settle for a place in a 2001 or 2002 Candidates match or tournament.

But because the goal of establishing a principled cycle was less important to Kasparov than getting a better deal for himself, i.e., seeding into a FIDE World Championship, Kasparov got into bed with a decidedly unreasonable individual: Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

That Kasparov's seeding into the FIDE finals was unfair to other top-ranked players didn't bother Garry. That the lottery/crapshoot format of the FIDE qualifier was unfair to the better players didn't appear to bother him. That exclusion of the Israeli players was patently unfair brought forth no public complaints from the part-Jewish Kasparov.

But the chickens set flying by Kasparov's unholy association with Ilyumzhinov are finally, one by one, coming home to roost: Relying on Kirsan, Garry wasted months prepping for the abortive Pono match; relying again on Kirsan, Garry declined his Corus 2005 invitation and has become a mere bystander at one of chess history's most spectacular events.

Taking responsibility for the break-up of the Candidates system requires more than an apology, it requires trying to put the system back together on an equitable basis. After losing the championship in London 2000 Kasparov might have worked with Kramnik, Anand, Leko, and others toward a fair and principled World Championship cycle to replace the one he shattered. That Kasparov preferred to grab an unfair seed into the FIDE Championship by associating with the unsavory Ilyumzhinov has had devastating results for the chess world at large, and now, ironically, for Kasparov himself.


My opinion as person who watched Garry not by talking to him, but looking on what he does, can be described below:

He does only what is in HIS OWN interests. This is perfectly all right until he is trying to show up as somebody he had never been.

All his talks about helping professional chessplayers and building the healthy community - BS, at least after he broke his relationships with chess organizations he created decade ago.

His public malicious attacks on Kramnik for not playing with him look very illogical if you remember the Garry behavior after becoming the WC.

By playing with Kramnik for WC title he has shown that the only thing he is interested in is money, and not the new cycle or unified title, and this was true until he lost the title. He did not need FIDE and enjoyed confrontation until he became ex.

Please note, he does not propose the new formal cycle, all his thoughts are about unification. He just wants the title back, no matter how, just to start doing what he wants again and again.

He was saying for many years that he is strictly against match-revanges, but changed his mind after he lost the title. Had he really expected Vlad to give him revenge without qualification in Dortmund?

He publicly blamed Karpov, Sevastianov, and Campo for trying to destroy him in 80th. And by organizing (or at least actively participating in) public campaigns against Pono and Kramnik he behaves like his former greatest enemy.

Silently watching (if not more) on what FIDE did to their own WC Pono, he showed his respect to professional chess community. We will never know what his private conversations with Kirsan were about during that time. May be his belief was that the Pono chess abilities will fall down after such hard pressure, and he win the match easily. Well, he was right, Pono took a long time to revive, as we see in Corus, but did this help Garry to get the title back?

I believe, the only reason he fall in love with FIDE was to get the title back.

And I believe that if he gets the unified title back until the new formal cycle established, we'll be back in dark ages. He will be the king who does what he wants, he will be the master who rules, beheads and pardons us. Is this what we want?

You make it sound as if these other players have been working hard on unification. Has it occurred to you that every player except Kasparov has profited from the schism (in the short run) by playing in different cycles and the FIDE KO. None of the other top players have lifted a finger to change things. Prague wasn't a power-grab coordinated by Kasparov. FIDE wanted him back in the fold, Einstein thought they might be left out in the cold. Einstein then disappeared. Was that Kasparov's fault? Even with hindsight you suggest nothing superior to Prague. Kasparov is bad for breaking with FIDE. Kasparov is bad for rejoining FIDE. Kasparov is bad for accepting FIDE's offer of playing Ponomariov, then Kasimdzhanov. Kasparov should... what? Still you suggest nothing because there IS nothing. "Work with Kramnik, Anand, Leko.." Doing what? They haven't done anything at all. They are not organizers and have shown no interest at all in anything political or organizational. Kramnik called a traditional tournament a qualifier and then played a match two years later. That's a cycle? Who were these reasonable people in 2000? Braingames? Einstein? Santa Claus? What a joke.

The other BS has been well covered. Dortmund 2002, Kramnik's qualifier, used the same mini-match format as the FIDE KO. Three of the top five players in the world didn't play. Kasparov called Libya "a shame," but he isn't FIDE president. It's easy for you to say he shouldn't play, perhaps ever again if you have your wish. You haven't condemned Kasimdzhanov or the others for playing in Libya, but now Kasparov can't play the winner. Garbage. He's been working to unify the title for two and a half years. (Yes, that also means working toward winning it. Oh, how self-serving!)

You're trying to blame Kasparov for fictitious damages when he hasn't even done anything. All of the whining about his being seeded to play Kasimdzhanov is moot, so now what? Just realize what a hypocrite you're being when you start sentences with "if only Kasparov..." If you take him out of the picture nothing happens, simple enough. The only thing I can imagine is that suddenly Kramnik might find a match with FIDE champion Kasimdzhanov quite attractive. It won't be part of a cycle or anything like that, but he (like you) will like it because Kasparov isn't in it.

As for Vlad Kosulin's recap of Kasparov's crimes against humanity, I'm not sure where he got the idea that Kasparov was trying to win the Nobel Peace Prize and not the world championship. His activities have put millions of dollars into the pockets of other players. Can any other player make this claim? As I said above, apparently the only thing worse than leaving FIDE was trying to rejoin it to unify the title. If Kasparov was hypocritical for this (he was), the critics are in the same boat. FIDE came to him with an offer and he accepted it. Declining it would not put us any closer to unification.

During Kasparov's eight years as champion under FIDE, what horrible things did he do? Start the GMA players association? Eliminate the rematch clause? Those are the dark ages? Certainly no period is as bad as now.

You lost me with the Ponomariov bit. FIDE issued rules and regulations and they were not met by both players and the match was cancelled. Blaming Kasparov for Pono's two years of less than wonderful results is bizarre.

Of course the only reason he got back with FIDE was to get the title back. The UNIFIED title. He couldn't care less about playing Kasimdzhanov. This is why self-interest and chess interest coincide. Kasparov's push for unification is to get his old (pre-1993) title back. That would be good for him, but having anyone have that title would be good for everyone else too.

Everyone complains about Kasparov interfering in everything and then they come with the "Kasparov should" routine.

And Kasparov did not break up the traditional cycle, by the way. He broke off with FIDE and established a separate title, but it was still a traditional cycle with the PCA. Even FIDE maintained the old cycle through 1996. It was Ilyumzhinov who destroyed it with his KO system, not Kasparov. Much of Kasparov's continued legitimacy as world champion in the 90's stemmed from FIDE abandoning the old cycle for the KO circus. Lastly, the tsunami? Not Kasparov either.

Did the 2000 WCC contract provide that the loser of the match play in a tournament similar to dortmund or not?
You say Anand and Kasprov didn't play, but of course that is Kasprov's fault that he himslef didn't play isn't it? Is it Kramniks fault that Kasprov refused to paly in any qualification cycle. i agree it wasn't great but was it what he agreed to in 2000? Did he agree to anythign about that in 2000?

Isn't it true that Kasparov said he didn't play becasue there wasn't enough money promised and that he thought he should get a direct rematch due to his then recent tournament success?

You say kramnik Anand and others aren't organizing anything? Isn't the ACP and organization? They listed that they want to resolve the WCC issues in 2005. Didn't kramnik say he is open to new ideas anbd woudl liek to meet with kasprov and FIDE? Is everyone just too proud to pick up the phone first or what?

How do you know players woudln't have had more money without the split. It wasn't that there were two systems that brought sponsorship money to chess. The sponsorship money may have still been there even if he didn't split.

I think that there would be MORE money without a split, then and now. But the players don't seem to think that way and continued to play both sides.

The 2000 contract said the loser would play in a qualifier if there was one. There wasn't one. No money as Braingames and then Einstein collapsed. There was no cycle to play in. Many of you talk as if money rains from the sky to make unification events happen "if only Kasparov does X."

The ACP is a player representation group that has organized several online blitz events. So have I, for that matter. I have hopes for them as a counterbalance to FIDE, but organizing takes money.

Yes, much of it is picking up the phone, but for years each party thought he had more to gain by not picking it up. Kramnik has risked nothing. Kasparov picked up FIDE's call but they couldn't get anything done.

It's easy to be open to new ideas. It means you never have to have one yourself or actually do anything. As the saying goes, pioneers get filled full of arrows and Kasparov is a perfect example of that. If you DO things you can make mistakes and be vilified for them. If you do nothing you are immune to criticism.

Mig often reiterates that the current reunification scheme, while not perfect, is the best we have. So we should all forget Kasparov's preferential seeding and move ahead with reunification plans as it is the chess world's best option. Yet, why can't the same be said about the 2002 Dortmund qualifier? It wasn't great, but it was the only thing at the time. Kasparov could have participated in it and have a shot at Kramnik, but encouraged by his streak of tournament successes he felt that he had enough leverage to bypass that system and get a direct rematch instead.

The worst part of it is, Kasparov was eventually rewarded for not giving in and for wanting things his own way - he got the Prague agreement and a privileged role in reunification. Do we want to reward adamant and elitist behavior? According to Mig, yes: Kasparov is powerful, influential, we all need him, so we have no choice. But he is not to blame, he is doing his best to help the chess world.

Now that there are no reunification prospects in sight, all we hear is that it is FIDE's fault, or that Kramnik does not want to make any sacrifices etc etc. If there was one instance where Kasparov could have sacrificed something for the sake of the common good, it was back in 2002 by playing the Dortmund qualifier. He didn't.

BTW, at the time Mig opined that it was in Kasparov's best interests to participate in the 2002 Dortmund qualifier. Apparently Kasparov was not happy with the remark, and in his next column Mig reversed his comment and said Kasparov was justified in not participating. I didn't get the reason at the time, maybe Mig can refresh us on it. Otherwise, it will be hard to not consider it his most blatant Kasparov apology.

Top chess players interested in re-establishing a fair, principled World Championship cycle faced the daunting prospect of opposition by both a) FIDE and its bizarre conduct and b) the world's most famous player, Kasparov, with his scorn for such a cycle and his insistence, instead, on a rematch or direct seeding into a World Championship.

To answer your question, Mig, if Kasparov either participated in the flawed FIDE Championship or dropped out of the picture entirely, then Anand would have played. If Kasparov and Anand had played, one or the other was surely more likely than Kasim to win the FIDE Championship. Sponsors were sure to be found for Kramnik-Kasparov or Kramnik-Anand. And the momentum from that unification match could have contributed toward rebuilding a fair, principled Candidates cycle.

But Kasparov has always put his own, short-term interests ahead of rebuilding a fair, principled Candidates cycle. It is unfortunate that his fans support him in this position. Referring to Kasparov's seeding into the FIDE Championship under the Prague Agreement we hear:

"If Kasparov wields his fame and ranking like Thor with two hammers, why not? What's the point of smashing everyone and becoming famous if you can't leverage your gains to further improve your lot? True, he's not going to win any popularity contests with his colleagues, but he doesn't seem to care as long as he's still winning tournaments." (Mig on Chess #165).

Kasparov's "might makes right" insistence on preferential status for himself has for years undermined the efforts of those interested in a fair and principled cycle. Let us hope that in his forthcoming announcement he will abandon these demands and begin participating with Kramnik, Anand, Leko, and others sincerely interested in establishing an equitable world championship cycle.

Murali, your "according to Mig" privileges are officially revoked. What I often reiterate is that it's no longer 2002 and that we are stuck with a pile of crap and it would be nice to shovel it off the doorstep as quickly as possible so we can get back to chess and a unified title instead of whining about whose fault the crap is. Pretending Kasparov doesn't exist doesn't solve the problem that we have two titles and a world #1.

Kasparov could have participated in Dortmund, same as Anand. I originally thought he should, and said so. Later we talked about it and I understood his point of view, that playing in such a flawed classifier was not what the classical title was supposed to be about. I said at the time that I didn't think he would play in any qualifier because he didn't think he should have to. But the bottom line is that Dortmund was a mess and if Kasparov had played and lost it wouldn't have had any impact on the situation at all. People would still be talking about the rating list and FIDE. Tell me what magic would have occurred had Kasparov played in Dortmund and lost to, oh, Bareev, in blitz playoff after a two-game mini-match.

It's a professional sport, not the Special Olympics. When there is no universally accepted system, merit is subjective and rating is a big part of that. I agree that Kasparov playing Kasimdzhanov (now a moot point) is bizarre. But if enough people think Kasparov has to be involved and that means sponsors and organizers (FIDE in this case) insist he is involved, that's the way it goes. He didn't break any rules; FIDE came after HIM. "Kasparov should have played in Dortmund but he shouldn't play Kasimdzhanov." Who picked the Dortmund field? Who picked Kramnik in 2000?

Yes, Kasparov has often placed himself above the other players when he is allowed to do so. I don't think this is profane in a professional sport. Kramnik was hand-picked in 2000 and you didn't hear a peep from him about how it wasn't democratic or how it really should be Shirov. For the most part if you're getting something it's because you earned it.

I am glad to see Kasparov's announcement. Now we can dream that the ACP can find a way (I won't give FIDE any credit for being able to do this) to organize a true cycle and get things on track.

I usually agree with MIG on most things, but I disagree where above he says that we offered nothing better and that Kasparov did nothing wrong in Prague. Clearly, at least to most of us out here, Kasparov should have insisted upon the establishment of a new cycle. He should have suggested, as many of us have many times, that a tournament of the top players be held to determine a challenger for Kramnik. It could have been the top 10 minus Kramnik but with Pono thrown in. Everyone would have accepted the winner of such a tournament as a legitimate challenger to Kramnik, and it would have been actually FAIR.

Warm congratulations to Kasparov for his attitude. From now on we hope for an union of the reliable Chess representations for the establishment of a true Candidates cycle to continue the great tradition: the title is on Kramnik's hands, and he ought to collaborate to make Chess recover unity - Kasparov, Leko, Anand (more than one billion of good people in India believe he WAS already a World Champion - but in fact he lost to Kasparov in 1995 and to Karpov in 1998, as we know...) are the other pillars of the new order. That world organization whith four letters - who answers for, i mean - should admitt that extinguishing the first branch of the traditional WC (Karpov's title) in 1999 was a silly silliness, and, from now on, put at disposal of the Chess world its world wide structure of federations to afford to everyone a place in the new WC cycle

Mig, you say that Kasparov was justified in not playing in Dortmund because that was not what a WC qualifier should have been. True, had he played in Dortmund and lost to Bareev in a blitz playoff after a two-game minimatch, it would hardly be a convincing defeat that would settle who the better player was. Yet, is it up to the player to decide what a good cycle is, and not participate if he doesn't want to? I don't think so.

In Kasparov's case such a statement was aggravating because he also claimed that since there was no qualifier system in place after that 2000 match, then it was only fair that Kramnik granted a rematch to the highest-rated player at the time. So Kasparov had a vested interest, and a big personal incentive, in ditching whatever qualifier *was* in place at the time(be it FIDE KO or whatever Kramnik proposed). Kasparov had no real justification other than that such an attitude would best fit his interests. Mig has repeatedly stated that Kasparov is perfectly in his right to cater to his own interests (he is a professional chess player after all); yet, that was not the argument given when Mig said his not playing in Dortmund was "justified" and "understandable".

Furthermore, Kasparov was seeking special favors *after* he lost to Kramnik fair and square in the 2000 match (now that WAS credible), and long after his most impressive tournament result (+7 in Linares 99). What would prevent him from going on asking for special favors? Ignoring for the time being his most recent statement (admirable BTW), I could imagine a situation where he beats Kazim in a match, then loses to Kramnik, and then after a year or two claims there is no good qualifier system in place and he should be granted a rematch with Kramnik (assuming he is still the highest rated player then). The point is, after Kasparov's attitude post his 2000 match (claiming the right to a rematch after losing fair and square, on the grounds of there being no good qualifying system in place), there is no limit to how often he could pull the same arguments to fend off having to participate in a qualifying system - provided he continued to keep his #1 position in the rating.

I know there is no easy solution to the problem, and I am not proposing one. But I know the solution is NOT to acknowledge that Kasparov is Kasparov and give him what he wants. Considering his post-2000 behavior, it is clear that catering to him won't achieve unification.

I have a new angle to the Kramnik Kasparov Anand 'Who is the greatest?' debate.

Could someone work out Kramnik's rating with white as a 1 e4 player, as opposed to his performance as a 1 d4/Nf3 player.

I suspect the truth of the matter is that Kramnik's results are a lot stronger with 1 d4
and hence Kramnik is inferior to both Anand and Kasparov when playing 1 e4 but may be better with 1 d4.

Incidentally, without wishing to add fuel to the flames of this debate, isn't Anand's record in tournament and match games against Kasparov rather poor? I believe that he last one game at normal time control in the world championship back in 1995

Best wishes


Who will be the next one to take the blame folks? ;-)

For those who are interested, James Marfia is translating the Corus games from the Russian website. Translations can be found at:


The Russian Championship games are still up on his site, and are also excellent reading if you haven't done so already.

My thanks are going to Mr. Marfia for the excellent translation and web publishing done!!! :-)

All I can say is that it will extremely interesting to watch Kasparov play Linares. Off form due to worrying about everything except for the Najdorf Sicilian or a ferocious tiger filled with rage and everything to prove ? To any of you who doubt Kasparov's legitimacy as the number 1 player in the world, I will take all bets that Kasparov wins Linares alone.

It seems that people dismiss Kasparov's better deeds and intentions because he doesn't bend over backwards to be punished and ignored.

So he should've played Dortmund...but what about the fact that for at least somewhat legitimate reasons he didn't feel compelled to? So he didn't do what the Samarithan would've done, but does that make him the Devil? No, Kasparov's deeds are good enough only if he would do everything other people demand from him without any gain for himself.

People who do those kinds of things, btw, have serious personal problems.

What about Anand? He wouldn't play Libya cause Kaspy got preferential treatment...what exactly has Anand done to make things better? Does this make Anand as self-serving as Kasparov? But no no, let's forget that Anand has done nothing (also that his performance isn't always as amazing as some people would like to think) for reunification, and obviously doesnt' go out of the way of his own interests for the interest of unified chess world.
At least Kasparov has done hell of a lot. Mistakes, too, but those who do take the blame, those who stand on the sidelines take the credit. That's a universal fact that applies everywhere, also in chess world.


And btw, is it really so hard to accept/understand, that Kasparov sort of does deserve a rematch with Kramnik? And if he doesn't get a direct rematch, the next best thing, which even he would still go for, is a qualification round with the top-fide-contender (now Kasim). Why is this so unacceptable to a lot of Kramnik and Anand supporters? It doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

Kasparov gave Kramnik a shot at the title, Kramnik took it and succeeded...then starts acting like he's the King of Chess, higher than everyone else, talking about fairness for _his_ challenger. i mean really, Kramnik shouldn't be so cocky. If he was a decent person, he would've agreed to a rematch without all this BS...but no, he's like the bully kid on the playground, who just happens to be bigger and nastier than everyone else, and this is mistaken for some sort of good qualities by many outsider watchers.

People who say Anand was overlooked, well as far as i understand, he had his chance and let it slip away, gave it to Kramnik. Why is this always conveniently forgotten, too?


Sacateca said "Anand has done nothing ... for reunification, and obviously doesnt' go out of the way of his own interests for the interest of unified chess world."

I think the reason he has done "nothing" for unification is because he has his priorities straight. Anand is giving his time to help develop chess in India. He's encouraging people to take up chess, to get better at it, to enjoy it. That is the important thing in chess.

Without ranks of new players coming in to the game, where will chess be? Thirty years from now we might have a unified title but there will be no-one who really cares except for some old fossilized players who spend half their time arguing about the good old days and whether GM 1 could have beaten GM 2. Even now in the U.S. and Canada, chess still has a stigma as a boring game played by old men and geeks--although that attitude slowly seems to be changing thanks to people who are promoting chess at the school yard level, not to mention celebrities jumping on board...pun unintended.

Young and upcoming chess players are the lifeblood of our sport/art/science. Anand knows what is important for chess, and wisely spends his time there. Compared to the work he is doing our unification goals seem fairly inconsequential.

Murali, I'm sorry but your point is a load of bull. Kasparov is a presence because he's the best player in the world on current form. The objective criterion is something called rating. Have you checked the latest rating list? if he drops down the ranking list and starts whining, nobody will care. People care now, because he's the best. That was Mig's point about usually earning what breaks you get.

Hey d if you read that and my other posts again you will notice that I acknowledge that Kasparov absolutely dominated the world of chess during 1999-2001, which is why he had leverage to get such a preferential seeding in Prague 2002. Unfortunately it's been a while since he pulled that off again, and his latest (on? two?) Linares performances was was from impressive. He kept his rating mostly by not playing, so it is a leftover from 4 years ago.

Too much time has passed since the Prague agreement, which has now collapsed. If Kasparov wants some preferential seeding now he needs to prove himself again.

I wish I could edit my previous post to correct a bunch off obvious grammatical error that me mades when writing in a haste.

There are rational, sensible persons who care about accuracy and honesty and who knows that the FIDE rating system doesn't reflect current strength other than very roughly. Then there are the pro-Kasparov fanatics.

:-) this is too rich to pass up, though I generally ignore Mr. Acirce's rabidly anti kasparov comments. The cap fits better on you old son, if u exchange kasparov for kramnik

me thinks leko has surpassed Kramnik in strength now. The man's a machine! A calculating machine who plays Kramnik style positional chess but better. I wanna see Leko Kasparov!!!!

"The cap fits better on you old son, if u exchange kasparov for kramnik"... yes, the moment I start ranting and raving about Kramnik being obviously the best player in the world just because he is the World Champion or just because he won Linares, I agree it's going to fit.

I had got a dream to begin my own business, nevertheless I didn't have got enough amount of cash to do that. Thank goodness my close fellow advised to use the loan. Therefore I took the student loan and realized my old dream.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 15, 2005 6:42 PM.

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