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Semper FIDE

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I'm not much into mythology, but god help us. Ilyumzhinov crony Berik Balgabaev told a Russian paper that FIDE will raise funds for another knock-out tournament. Gee, the last one went so well. They're almost out of places to hold these things. Where to next? North Korea with a plutonium trophy?


Mars, bitches!

Just to get it straight, they plan a knockout so the winner of that tourney plays Kasim, and then the winner of that match plays Kramnik for unification?

No, no such plan, at least not that I'm aware of.

It's simple though. The next qualified player will meet Kasparov, who will have come back in the meantime, and Kasimdzhanov will play Ponomariov. Then they all play a double round robin with Kamsky, Karpov, Short and Shirov. Subsequently Bacrot becomes world #1, Leko beats Kramnik (+1 =15), Morozevich beats Deep Espresso in their blindfold handstand encounter, and the Classical championship sees the victory of Spassky against Fischer (hey, why not) while the feminists claim the title is now in the hands of Judit Polgar on grounds of men's incompetence to handle it. Finally the unification match is won by Dimitri Sergeyevich Karjakin.

The problem is, no "respectable" country will hold these KO tournies. I sincerely doubt that The West will agree to sponsor anything, so FIDE will turn to any country that will have them, be it another Libya.

My guess is Pyongyang

At what point will having a FIDE championship in the country be grounds for reasonable suspicion that the country has weapons of mass destruction?

Not that I I see why Libya and North Korea would be worse countries to organize a WC in than the USA (1995) or Great Britain (1993, 2000). Or, well, I do, but it's not because the former countries are evil dictatorships but because they are perceived as evil dictatorships.

There is an awful lot of Western bias that shows not only if we look at extreme examples like these, of course. For example illustrated by Kramnik's bigotted talk about "civilized European countries".

FIDÉ is an utter, complete, and total joke now. Take the rating list away from them and they become completely meaningless. These idiotic knock-out tournaments would be fine if they didn`t try to attach the words "World Championship" to them (which of course they are not). Speedgames and blitz, woohoo. Las Vegas, showgirls... yeah, that`s what chess is all about.

The word "stupid" is overused, but completely applicable to FIDÉ.

Libya was a horrible choice. Not because it was "perceived" to be an evil dictatorship, but because they deliberately excluded "certain people" from participating. That is wrong and completely contrary to FIDE's stated principles.

I have not yet seen any evidence that Israelis were excluded by the organizers. There might have been discrimination, of more or less serious nature, but they withdrew by their own choice. But yes, obviously it was not exactly an ideal situation.

I find it interesting how some people list the absence of Israelis as the most important reason why the Lybia KO was illegitimate. True, excluding nationals from a certain country is an awful thing (shame on FIDE and the Lybia organizers). Yet, since Israel does not have any players among the top 10 (or is it 15? And Gelfand and Smirin haven't been shining recently), the absence of Israelis as a claim for illegitimacy is purely a reason for some people to make a political statement. I'd rather people who complain of Lybia's illegitimacy restricted themselves to stating that only two among the top-10 rated players took part in it.

Yet, it is hard to establish a legitimate cycle when the top players have very different views on what is legitimate. Anand is happy with a KO system and unhappy with any system where the defending champion simply waits for a challenger who had to go through a gruelling qualifying process. Kramnik thinks that the best 5 players in the world should play a tournament to produce a challenger for him. FIDE wants a new KO, something most grandmasters support since it is their only way of making real money from chess (ask anyone not in the top-20 whether he wants a return to the old candidates cycle). Kasparov, after being deprived of a rematch against Kramnik, might give up on the WC altogether and instead spend the rest of his life claiming that he was the strongest player in the world even after he lost the title to Kramnik.

Sometimes I think the best thing is to wait 25 years until Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand are no longer among the top players in the world.

Murali, your argument about Tripoli falls flat when you look at who actually won the event: Kasimdzhanov wasn't in the top 10 either. The presence of Israeli players could well have made a difference (considering the resemblance of the tournament format to a lottery).
Also, when players of one nation are discriminated against in a supposed "World Championship", it's high time to make a political statement, and it doesn't really matter if it's Israel or Fiji, it's a matter of principle.
If I understand Anand correctly, this would have been a reason for him to boycott the event, but he had already opted out because he objected to Kasparov being seeded into the final round.

Speaking of FIDE, I wonder if this is an encouraging development:

I know that Anand had some differences in the past with the AICF. Was it because of Mr Koya?

R.M. Dongre, Manuel Aaron, Bharat Singh certainly do look less corrupt than Mr Koya and I hope that they are.

But are there any possible repercussions for FIDE?

I don't see where my argument falls flat. If you use Kazim as an example for why the KO is illegitimate, there is no need to mention the absence of Israelis. Unless you think that Kazim is truly one of the best players, but would never have won had Gelfand and Smirin been there.

You don't have to look as far as Fiji to find examples of countries being left out of World Sports - Yugoslavia was left out of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Does that make all gold medallists from that year illegitimate?

There were UN sanctions in place against Yugoslavia in 1992, nevertheless individual athletes were allowed to participate. No comparison to the event in Libya.

It's not the person Kasimdzhanov or his rank in the FIDE rating, but the circumstances under which he won the Tripoli tournament (absence of top players AND practical exclusion of Israeli and Jewish players) which make him a FIDE Champion with less legitimacy compared to Ponomariov and Anand.

Yet many here seemed to believe that you could simply replace Ponomariov with Kasimdzhanov; questions of legitimacy were never addressed or swept under the carpet. This is why the case of the Israeli and Jewish players is so important. You could argue that the top players deliberately chose to be absent from Tripoli, it was their free decision after all. In contrast, the Israeli and Jewish players wanted to participate, but they were practically prevented from doing so, as the case of Milov clearly shows.

Would Kasimdzhanov have had a chance to win the tournament even with all participants from Moscow playing in Tripoli? In my opinion, yes. On the other hand, could he have lost against Milov or Gelfand? Yes, of course. The format of the tournament is such that a lottery would be a worthy replacement to determine the "strongest player"... OK, I'm exaggerating. With all great players (except the two Ks) participating, the Moscow tournament even mustered enough legitimacy to become a part of the unification process in Prague.
Now, if you want to replace the winner of Moscow with the winner of Tripoli, the format has to be exactly the same, i.e. no discrimination against players because of their nationality, etc.

My response to acirce wasn't meant to question the "legitimacy" of the Libyan KO tournament. I meant only to assert that FIDE has a responsibility to choose event locations that are willing to accommodate all FIDE members.

The legitimacy of the tournament is subjective. Objectively, Kasimdzhanov won the tournament, fair and square. FIDE declared him the World Chess Champion based on this well-earned victory. It's up to each individual chess enthusiast to decided if Kasimdzhanov is "the" World Champion, "a" World Champion or a top-notch player with a hollow title.

(In reply to Martin's post): I wanted to participate in all the FIDE KOs but was practically prevented from doing so. So all KOs are illegitimate. Everyone should have a chance, right?

Of course, you will argue I am not one of the world's top players. Neither are Gelfand and Smirin, according to my definition of top players.
So maybe the best solution is to exclude everyone who is not at the very top. But it appears that by adding all those non-Israeli tourists not in the top 20, FIDE made the championship illegitimate. Is that your argument?

My point is that the legitimacy of FIDE's system was cast into doubt the moment it chose to include so many weaker players into its qualifying system. Once that happened, the fact that a small subset of the weaker players (a handful of otherwise qualified Israel-visitors, out of a total of 256 qualified players) were left out is peanuts and did little to affect the legitimacy of the tournament. The absence of top-10 players casts legitimacy much into doubt; the absence of players much further down in the rating list, much less.

I said it before, and I say it again: it is a horrible thing that Israelis were left out of the tournament, no sport should allow that to happen.
I just don't accept this fact as the main argument against the legitimacy of the Lybia KO; the absence of 8 players out of the top-10 is the real reason. If Gelfand were among those 8, I would completely agree that his absence contributed a great deal to making the tournament illegitimate.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 30, 2005 7:19 PM.

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