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Unreasonable Demands

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Balgabaev also blames the failure of the unification matches on "Kasparov's unreasonable financial demands." This is amusing if only because FIDE 1) guaranteed these amounts several times and 2) wanted an exorbitant amount itself for doing nothing.

But while FIDE was/is in a mess of its own making, it's true that players in these world championship matches have had unrealistic monetary expectations. That goes for Kasparov as well as Kramnik, whose match with Leko was delayed for years for a money hunt. With no external or organizational imperative to play, it makes sense for them to wait until the biggest money can be found. Why play for $250,000 now if you might get $400,000 in a year or two?


World championship prize funds

2004 Kramnik-Leko US$ 700 000
2000 Kasparov-Kramnik US$ 2 000 000
1998 Kasparov-Shirov (unplayed) US$ 600 000
1995 Kasparov-Anand US$ 1 500 000
1993 Kasparov-Short US$ 2 500 000
1992 Fisher-Spassky US$ 5 000 000
1990 Kasparov-Karpov V US$ 3 000 000
1987 Kasparov-Karpov IV US$ 2 100 000

(FIDE Knockouts are blitz tournaments with an occasional chess game thrown in, not championships)

If you're looking for a reason for unification, look no further. If you can match the world champion and arguably the next best player in the world, you can raise US$2 million or more. If you have an exciting backstory (and a quality qualification cycle makes that more likely) then you may be able to raise US$5 million.

Kramnik isn't interested in playing Kasparov for millions, so he plays Leko for barely enough to pay his own expenses. The only plausible reason is that Vlad thinks he would lose.

Kasparov won't play at Dortmund to qualify against Kramnik. The only plausible explanation is that he has enough money already and is too arrogant to play to qualify.

Fisher hasn't played in twelve years. The only plausible explanation is that he's a sociopath and somebody should warn the Icelandic authorities.

Shirov gave up his chance to play because zero is better than US$ 600 000 and he figured he had no chance at all to beat Kasparov. Shirov should have his head examined.

As for how it should all play out, it's pretty simple. FIDE is the only plausible organization to arrange things. So FIDE needs to be taken over by a team of people who aren't crooks and organize an old fashioned championship cycle like we had before Kasparov-Short.

With no established world's best player opting out like there was in 1993-1996 when FIDE last organized a cycle, the money and national support will all go FIDE's way. Unless such a player emerges again before FIDE gets its act together.

Not to mention that a 1990 dollar was worth a lot more than a 2004 dollar.

Murali, and with four more years of Bush, soon a dollar will be worth next to nothing at all! We've already lost 40% of the value of the Dollar in the last four years and Republicans in Washington want the other 60% now (viz. the Social Security phase out and deficit explosion plan).

The declining trend of World Championship prize funds since the days of Kasparov v Karpov is perhaps even more pronounced than Brian realises, since two oh his figure for later match prize funds may be exaggerated.
According to Shirov, the 1998 prize fund for his match against Kasparov was never confirmed - he claims he was never in a position to accept or reject the match as be never saw any bank guarantees. So the $600,000 may have been no more real than the recent Dubai prize fund.
Also, in 1993, rumour has it that Rupert Murdoch (or News Limited) threated to pull the plug on the Kasparov-Short match about six weeks before it was to start - possibly because of abysmal ticke sales. The ticket prices were then slashed (from 45 pounds to 10 pounds) and Kasparov and Short allegedly required to take a pay cut and not contradict the media when they quoted the old prize fund.
It sounds plausible, so the $2,500,00 figure for 1993 may be rather too high.


i think that Balgabaev meant something different referring to "Kasparov's unreasonable financial demands".
I hope you remember the story with financing of Chess Olympiad in Istanbul in 2000. Turkey Federation secured the bid with the help of then country's Sports minister.Of course, when the tournament got closer and the Minister who backed up the Olympiad left,everybody understood that there's no money there. The Turkish goverment gladly gave the money in the last moment when they were told that such a great event has to be moved to Elista.
This is how things work out there.And Garry knows it.So asking for "banking guarantees" in the middle of the this "sensitive" process was a sure way to kill it.And that's exactly what he did.

Hello Alex. Interesting theory, but the crime lacks a motive. I'm not 100% clear on what you mean. I assume you mean he wanted to kill the Dubai bid, not the entire match. Kasparov had nothing to lose by playing in such a match.

As for the Dubai bid, those guarantees were not asked for in the middle of anything, they were demanded as far back as the Ponomariov match. After that disaster Kasparov made it even clearer that he wouldn't show up anywhere without bank guarantees in place. The Dubai organizers swore up and down that everything was as requested, everything was fine. Ilyumzhinov and FIDE said the same (Ilyumzhinov's now famous "I have the bank guarantees on my desk").

At the end of the day you have to have some objective way of proving things are really going to happen, or at least be compensated if they don't, and money in the bank is about the only way to do it since we all know the value of a FIDE contract!

Asking for guarantees may also function as a negotiation tool, but how else to you establish a real deadline? FIDE has been postponing things for years.

I agree with everything you say up until you start telling us what motivates Kramnik and Kasparov. Kramnik stated his reasons why he wont just give kasparov an automatic rematch. Kasparov stated hsi reasons why he didn't play in the Dortmund qualifier.

Kramnik said he wants a credible cycle. You agree that a credible cycle that yields a realistic challenger will eventually generate more of the kind of money we used to get with the candidates cycle.

Also we don't need FIDE to run the world championship. We *do* need a credible candidates cycle. The dortmund qualifier - one tournament - wasn't the worst but it was not good enough.

Whether involving FIDE will help the cycles credibiltiy is far from clear. They refuse to recognize that thier KOs were a fiasco. This strongly suggests one of two things. 1) They are out of touch with reality or 2) They really don't care if the "World champion" has *any* correlation with being "the best chess player in the world." If the system doesn't strive for a better correlation, the interest in the thing will continue to dwindle and money will never be there. I say lets not involve them until its clear they recognize this obvious point. Otherwise they will obstruct more than help.

One bright spot over the horizon is the plan for the new EdgeTV network to broadcast some chess tournaments. If this works it might establish a 'real' baseline of support for chess that did not depend on patronage.

So, there wont be any Kasparov's return? Its such a shame that he bowed out under pressure. He waited so long. couldn't he wait more? And he blames on everything.

Sorry, what exactly is EdgeTv? I'm not familiar with it.

Honestly, unless broadcasting a chess tournament can somehow be spiced up with active commentary and bits on the players, I sincerely doubt this will be successful. Even if it is made "more alive", I do not think that enough people would watch it to keep the program running. Also, unless this is a top tournament, I doubt anyone will watch it at all.

Sorry for veering off-topic.

Anton, here's a link with the founder of EdgeTV.


Seems like their ideas for tournament coverage include much of what you mentioned.

Hey, its gotta beat at least half of what's on TV at present!

Thanks a bunch.

That is known that cash can make us free. But what to do when someone has no cash? The one way only is to try to get the loan and college loan.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 30, 2005 7:26 PM.

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