Greengard's ChessNinja.com

FIDE Gasps Again

| Permalink | 82 comments

Like zombies, vampires, and the career of Keanu Reeves, you just can't kill FIDE unification match rumors. FIDE prez Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is back on the spin machine with more promises. Having previously guaranteed a million dollars in money he didn't produce he's now upped the prize fund. Heck, why not triple it since there isn't any money anyway? From no sponsors and no money he's now saying there's more money and three sponsors.

"So, it appears that the process of chess unification will go on without the World No. 1 player. However, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov seems to be prepared for that. Yesterday, he said that in case of Kasparov's refusal other candidates will play against Kasimdzhanov – in particular, Viswanathan Anand (India) or Peter Leko (Hungary). And three countries have already offered to host the match – Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates."

If the idea of a unification plan with the world #1 involved is out the window, why not simply cut to the point and put Kramnik himself at the top of the list? We had a (very) long discussion here about how perverse it would be to move down the rating list after Kasparov's exit (only of people who didn't play in Libya, so Topalov is out but Leko and Morozevich are okay?!?), but it appears my comment that it's "just insane enough for Ilyumzhinov to do it" is coming true. How far down the list would they go? Until they pass Kasimdzhanov's spot?

The irony of Anand refusing to play in the Libya KO because it was a qualifier to play Kasparov and then accepting a match against the Libya winner would be apocalyptic. But if FIDE is crazy enough to do it, why not play? I'd say the same to Kasparov, Leko, and Kasimdzhanov, considering that FIDE's next step may be to have the poor Uzbekistani play a match against himself for the title. And hey, I like chess so play some chess. But what's the point in calling it unification since this road leads nowhere? While it's obvious that Kramnik would be more likely to grant a match to anyone other than Kasparov, he still has little incentive to do so.

This match is no longer about unification at all and FIDE knows it. They are just looking to make a buck, syphoning their 20% plus kickbacks from the sponsors. If the money is in the bank Kasparov might play, and unless Anand has lost his mind he'd insist on the same. Ilyumzhinov needs to stop giving interviews and start filling out deposit slips.


Sorry for the delay, guys, but I'm in California to see my new (one week old today!) nephew. It's a few hours of dial-up per night. I'll talk to Garry tomorrow and see if he'll go on the record with anything more than an eye-roll.

Kramnik has stated his intention to grant a match to the winner of a fair and principled cycle, whoever it is. But we still read:

"While it's obvious that Kramnik would be more likely to grant a match to anyone other than Kasparov, he still has little incentive to do so."

This is obvious only in Kasparo-world, a planet not far removed from Bizarro-world.

In Kasparo-world we believe that:

1) The world's best players (including Kasparov and Anand) were invited to the Dortmund 2002 Candidates matches not because Kramnik wanted to give them all a fair shot at the title, but because he wanted to lessen his chances of meeting Kasparov in a Championship match.

2) Kasparov declined to challenge Kramnik through the Dortmund 2002 Candidates matches because of concerns with the format. But Kramnik declined a rematch with Kasparov (an unobjectionable format?!) because he was chicken.

3) A rematch is wrong when the defeated Botvinnik wants one, wrong when the defeated Karpov wants one, but right when the defeated Kasparov does.

4) Same idea re being air-dropped into a FIDE final.

Kramnik's intentions respecting the selection of his challengers aren't hard to understand: stage the fairest possible cycle given the available resources. He'll grant a match to the winner of that cycle, whoever it is. Obviously.

Greg, since you don't know either of them and apparently have little knowledge of their statements, please stop the mind-reading of Kasparov and Kramnik. And please stop posting this laundry list of perceived sins to every thread while pretending it's on topic. What does this have to do with rematches or Dortmund or anything else? Wait, please don't answer. At all.

Kramnik has long had a mutually antagonistic relationship with Kasparov and would go well out of his way to frustrate him. If you don't think he'd be more likely (since it his whim upon which we depend) to play Anand or anyone else you have been living with your eyes and ears closed since 2000.

As long as it's Kramnik deciding what is fairest and what resources are sufficient, we're in for a long wait, at least if Kasparov is involved. If he stays out of the picture the ACP might suddently appear with a plan.

Mind-reading is kind of difficult, yes. Therefore there is no reason to state that Kramnik is "obviously" lying and that everyone who doesn't see that Kramnik is obviously lying has "been living with (his) eyes and ears closed since 2000".

Seems to me that Kasparov lost his title to Kramnik. Ergo, Kramnik's the man, ratings be damned. If Kaspy wants a rematch, he needs to be in the cycle, if he's not, he's not, oh well.

Kaspy could take his ball and go home when he held the title, but he doesn't anymore. Being number one in the world doesn't make you WC -- for proof look at a guy with the initials RJF circa 1973.

But the bigger problem is that FIDE is simply out of their mind. There's no way that they can have all the events they want in the time frame they are claiming to want them . . .particularly with the venue not even being secured at this point.

I can't hold my kid's birthday party without reserving the party room 3 months in advance, and Ilyumzhinov wants to hold a WC match in 2 months without knowing what country it's going to be in?


As long as it's Kramnik deciding what is fairest and what resources are sufficient, we're in for a long wait.

As if Kasparov would be any better. Let's face it guys, throwing mud around with the personalities involved in top end chess is too easy.

Here's a better way to put it to you, Greg. If the FIDE money really is there and Anand takes it and plays Kasimdzhanov and beats him and Kramnik says "that was a fair cycle and unification is the most important thing so I'll play Anand for the title in 2006", would you consider that a good and fair thing? Yes or no?

What does this have to do with Kasparov? You guys are bizarre. I only pointed out that due to their poor relationship Kramnik would be more accepting of anyone else. Feel free to pretend that's not obvious all you like.

What does this have to do with what Kasparov would do? Kramnik is the champion. His last "cycle" was a traditional tournament with four extra games and some extra money. Better than nothing, but not exactly what we're hoping for at the moment. I hope.

Would you consider it living up to all the calls for fairness and democracy if they did that again with Dortmund 2006? No zonals, organization, no interzonals, just picking some players for a tournament?

Mig, I'd consider it fairer than how Kramnik got picked to play Kasparov, but I wouldn't consider it ideal.

But shouldn't the point be not if you think Kramnik or Kasparov would be more fair, but that the organizers behind this thing can't get their act together. Without a viable, respectable organization backing a cycle the players will always act in a way that aligns with what they perceive as their best interests. Kasparov did that with Short, and Kramnik is doing it now.

What the chess world needs is a body with the clout and standing to simply say "this is how it will be, this is the cycle, this is the fund, if you don't like it, don't play, but it goes on without you. If you choose to sit out then you have no claim to anything." To gain that clout and standing, the organization needs a few things . . . not being ruled as a dictatorship by a meglomaniacal murder is probably a good start.

I still pine for the days when the champion cherry picked his opponent. What a wonderfully simple system!

At least they will be calling the tournament in Vietnam a "World Cup" instead of a "World Championship":

"As for the next World Cup (this is how it is now called), it is to take place in this year’s December. We have the consent of the Government of Vietnam to organize this tournament in Ho Chi Min."

It's an interesting format and a good opportunity for many players to earn some money, but it was never worthy of a World Championship.

“Greg, since you don't know either of them [Kasparov, Kramnik]...
–Maybe that gives me an advantage: an objectivity lacking in someone who’s been a good friend and business associate of one of them and who misses few occasions to ridicule and disparage the other.

“...and apparently have little knowledge of their statements
–Kasparov’s rematch demands: Pravda Interview 2/14/02.
–Kramnik’s insistence on a fair cycle: Dirk Jan Interview 1/20/05

“...please stop the mind-reading of Kasparov and Kramnik.”
It’s not mind reading to predict that both men will abide by their latest statements on the world championship: Kasparov demanding a rematch or an air-drop, Kramnik insisting on as fair a cycle as practicable.

For mind-reading see:
“...it's obvious that Kramnik would be more likely to grant a match to anyone other than Kasparov...”
“As long as it's Kramnik deciding what is fairest and what resources are sufficient, we're in for a long wait, at least if Kasparov is involved.”
“Kramnik...would go well out of his way to frustrate [Kasparov].”

Why do we need to have a Kazim-someone match before the "unification" match with Kramnik?
Or, in other words, why not directly invite Kramnik to play Kazim in Turkey? In my opinion the fairest thing to do would be to give Kasparov a few days to answer and if he still wants to keep himself apart from the unification process, then, what?, well, proceed without him.
Of course his name, status, strength, etc, are huges assets, but if we have any hope of organizing a credible stable cycle we need to start putting in place structures that are stronger than the strongest of its individual elements!

A big problem is that at the present moment,we have one person, Kramnik, who holds a title as something of his own property and for all practical purposes, he can do with it has he pleases! What if he simply does not want to play Kazim, or the Kazim-someone match winner, for whatever reason! This is what really worries me.

It will be impossible to satisfy everybody. If the chess world really wants a unified title, then concessions will have to be made, to accept that methods are imperfect, but to keep in mind the greater goal.


Re Mig's comments:

“Kramnik has long had a mutually antagonistic relationship with Kasparov.”
Kramnik seems to enjoy good relations with most everybody. He and Leko share a business manager, top players Svidler and Bareev served as his seconds in his title defense. Kasparov, on the other hand, has had “mutually antagonistic relationships” with Karpov, Short, Shirov, Radjubov, Judit Polgar, the Deeper Blue team, and Lord knows who else. For four years Kasparov has been trying to bully Kramnik into a rematch. Kramnik won’t be bullied. Hence their “mutually antagonistic relationship.”

“As long as it's Kramnik deciding what is fairest and what resources are sufficient, we're in for a long wait, at least if Kasparov is involved.”
If Kasparov dropped his demands for a rematch or an air-drop and signaled his agreement to participate in eight-person Candidates matches the sponsors would come a-runnin’. On the other hand, as long as Kasparov is hanging around waiting for guaranteed money for a non-unification match it could be hard to attract sponsors for a new cycle. A major component of the logjam is Kasparov. Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Fide does want whatever monies they can get from sponsers for a so called pre-unification match to decide a challenger to a maybe receptive Kramnik!

But if anything really happens, now that would be news!

Now if a depsoit is made in a national bank ( rather than the Caman Islands!) maybe Kasparov would play. But until rhetoric is ended, and substance is realized, it is all yada, yada, yada!

Also Mig, nephews are great most of the time, really depends on how old! lol

Hmmm... I think I'm with Greg on this one. All of this mess stems from Kasparov's hatred of FIDE (particularly Campomones) in the 80's and early 90's; justified or not. He's the one (Short went along for the ride...) that broke away in the first place.

It seems to me, and I'm admittedly just a guy looking at everything from the outside, that at the center of all of this is one man, Garry Kimovich himself.


Answering Mig's questions:

“If the FIDE money really is there and Anand takes it and plays Kasimdzhanov and beats him and Kramnik says "that was a fair cycle and unification is the most important thing so I'll play Anand for the title in 2006", would you consider that a good and fair thing? Yes or no?”
If Bill Gates funded a new cycle on condition that Kramnik play Anand (or Britney Spears, for that matter), he should play. Otherwise, no, it would be unfair to Leko, Kasparov, and all the other top players. And that's why Kramnik won't do it.

“Would you consider it living up to all the calls for fairness and democracy if they did that again with Dortmund 2006? No zonals, organization, no interzonals, just picking some players for a tournament?”
Once freed from his Braingames contract, Kramnik quickly had Dortmund 2002 put together: inviting the world’s top seven to play into 4-game Candidates Matches. With more planning time and (hopefully) the enthusiastic participation of Kasparov and Anand we should hope for a new cycle involving zonals, interzonals, and longer Candidates matches. If Kramnik or the ACP have to proceed without the cooperation of Kasparov and Anand we can only ask that they do their best.

Mig I agree with what you wrote in the orginal post but your complaining abotu Kramnik is no better than Gregs complaining about Kasparov. It is not Kramnik's nor is it Kasparov's fault that FIDE is run by a crazyman. Let it go.

Mig you write:
"Here's a better way to put it to you, Greg. If the FIDE money really is there and Anand takes it and plays Kasimdzhanov and beats him and Kramnik says "that was a fair cycle and unification is the most important thing so I'll play Anand for the title in 2006", would you consider that a good and fair thing? Yes or no?"

My opinion and the opinions of many does not change on this. The issue is will FIDE commit to running fair cycles in the future. If Kramnik plays Anand or Kasparov before we know full well they won't pull a lottery on us 2 years later, then I will be ticked at Kramnik. However if he can get assurances that FIDE will really have a fair cycle after the match (I honestly don't know how this would be possible now but anyway if he somehow did) then I would want him to play the match agaisnt either Anand or Kaspaorv. Kramnik has said it doesn't matter who he plays first its the future cycles that are important.

What I can't beleive is why this guy didn't ask Kirsan what he thinks the WC cycle should be like! Is he willing ot guarantee he wont have it decided on two game matches and blitz games? Will he work with ACP? What happened to the bank guarantees on his desk? Why aren't any of these questions ever asked?

Mig wrote
"What does this have to do with Kasparov? You guys are bizarre. I only pointed out that due to their poor relationship Kramnik would be more accepting of anyone else. Feel free to pretend that's not obvious all you like."

If this so obvious why didn't he protest when Keene accomadated Kasparov's request to have dortmund have a longer semifinal match? Why did he sign prague that put him facing kasparov only after Kasparov needed to beat Pono?

mig wrote
"What does this have to do with what Kasparov would do? Kramnik is the champion. His last "cycle" was a traditional tournament with four extra games and some extra money. Better than nothing, but not exactly what we're hoping for at the moment. I hope.

Would you consider it living up to all the calls for fairness and democracy if they did that again with Dortmund 2006? No zonals, organization, no interzonals, just picking some players for a tournament?"

No I wouldn't I will be very disappointed. However I thought Kramnik had an obligation under his 2000 contract to have *BG* set up the qualifier. So to call it "his" qualifier is not really fair. Sure he may have been able to renege on the agreement without a lawsuit but he wanted to give other players who had no chance to win at all for 10 years some kind of chance . Now I *think* he wants to set up something really good. It will be hard for him to do this alone. He publicly requested Kaspaorv and all parties including FIDE to work with him to get this done. Has Garry ever talked to him to discuss anythign other than just a direct rematch? I don't know. Maybe you do.

Why are greg koster's posts always a target for Mig?

Mig constantly trying to antagonize greg koster is typical of his "objectivity". Mig loves to come on down from his high throne and declare others as irrational and unseeing, but he himself is the most biased and un-objective "journalist" around. Koster lays out arguments supported by his resources (articles and words spoken by the very principals in question), while Mig does his usual "But I JUST KNOW THESE PEOPLE, DO YOU?" routine. In Mig's world, if you don't personally know the President of the U.S., you better not express an opinion because you don't really know what's in his heart - forget statements or actions in the past as indicators of behavior in the future.

Its downright funny to see Mig constantly using putdowns like 'are you a mindreader' and 'you have no objectivity' when he is the absolute worst at following his own 'rules' for logic. His blindness to his own hypocracy is stunning.

Koster does this board a favor by his persistence, even if the operator of it is too blind (or dumb) to see it, and constantly asks him to leave threads. If guys like koster and arice leave, it just becomes a Mig-sanctioned-only view discussion board, which he probably wants, since he is the quickest of them all to make objective discussions personal attacks on objectivity and competence. I don't agree with all koster writes (though if this were a formal debate, his style wins hands down over Mig), but I know I weigh his posts and his views as far more valuable than most. Mig's wanting to chase him away is just stupid.

If koster's arguments are so vague and irrational as Mig paints them, then give the reading audience some credit to determine this on their own. Instead we get Mig's escalating antagonism, as if he is so sure that people as objectively aligned as chessplayers are always with him. Frankly I think if we removed the names of the posters and asked a nuetral third party to pick out the most personally attacking and angry posts, it is Mig who would be banned first.

greg, Your analyses is sound .Yet it is generally felt by many chess fans that Kramnik is avoiding Kasparov .If Mig says the same, it is factually correct, though one may ascibe motivitations to it.Why Kramnik is expected to play again a direct match with Kasparov?I thing following are some of the reasons.
1.Kasparov has been no.1 player for couple of decades.One failure should not make him a non-champion.It could be an accident.
2.Kramnik is not doing any great since his win.
3.Conducting a cycle to find the challenger is praise worthy.But in this situation, we know who could be the worthiest challenger to him(Kramnik).
While one may question why Kramnik was hand picked when he lost the qualifying match to shirov or when was not the first choice(it was Anand) , same may not be true if you hand pick Kasparov.After all that was his first ever loss in any championship/qualifier match.
4.In the abscence of any undisputed title , ratings do matter.Kasparov , till 2002, was head and shoulders above the rest.Tell me honestly , can you dream of anybody come close to his achievements.
5.While Kasparov was desperately looking for a match , which can be one of the biggest events in current chess world, for the last 4 years....Kramnik hardly listen to his calls.You may say he is more interested in creating a system.But, any system that doesn't attract Kasparov participation is not really going to help anybody.Kasparov is arrogant, self centric,eccentric,ego maniac, blah...blah...but the reality is ...he is too great a player to be ignored.
Frankly, I like Kramnik for his principles, composure and maturity.But that doesn't prevent me from form concluding...somehow he is not interrested to give a chance to Kasparov so easily.And I dont mind streching this a bit further to say...he wants to avoid Kasparov, if possible.
I think this is what Mig said in different way.

What ever happened to Bessel Kok in all this mess?

pavani, at least don't pretend that line of argumentation is *still* valid. When Kasparov and his fans claimed his right to an automatic rematch due to his *then* obvious dominance in the chess world, it was or was not a valid argument, but his dominance is no longer the case. It's highly disputable if he is even the best player, much less clearly the best. It's a discussion that belongs to history.

Let's just admit that especially with the current lack of system ALL of the statements made by ALL players are self-serving. You would have to be crazy to not look for the biggest paycheck by playing the worst player with the most solid guarantee that the money was coming. Kramnik is able to step a little harder on the gas pedal because more people consider him a legitimate champion ('cause more people considered Kasparov a legitimate champion) and the Grand Illusionov (whatever?!) can jerk the steering wheel back and forth because he's in FIDE seat. The important question is whether anyone (national federation(s), sane billionaire, six guys around a pickle-barrel) cares enough about chess to actually do something to move beyond nowhereville. Quite frankly, I doubt that anything will happen, so I would only like to encourage the people around here to not be so hard on each other because we are literally all we've got. So quit grinding your axe, especially on Mig because at least he gives you a place to be heard, and think of what we can do in constructive way to get our respective national federations to withdraw from FIDE and form a new alliance.


1. The match with Kramnik made sense because A. The sponsors wanted it, and B. Shirov couldn't nick Kasparov for a DRAW for two years; matches with Kramnik aside, the guy hasn't been top ten for a while except through beating up on the riffraff.

2. Kasparov would love a rematch. Post-Astana, Kramnik would much rather play a Leko or Anand. Unification would be great, but it won't happen until someone with a legitimate claim wins the FIDE title. If Kasparov went to Vietnam, that would probably do it; but he doesn't sneeze on a kleenex for a measly half million.

3. In the meantime, Kramnik has been doing his best impression of being Karpov in the late 90's, as if he were thirty years older, and Kasparov woke up after his implosion in Eastern Europe and decided to actually do some homework. Not to mention that Leko, Topalov, and Anand have raised their game. About the only guy in the top ten NOT able to argue that they are the strongest in the world is Kramnik.

So I suppose what we need is Linares, except with Kramnik, and maybe a replacement for Kasim. I'm getting used to Paco, he's kind of funny.


Ok here's a remark from a different perspective. First I will summarize my point:

Not to 'hijack the thread', honestly, but what if there's an alternative to putting time and energy (and the occasional dram of vitriol) into thinking about WCH/unification? What if...

- WCH Ain't The Issue.
- High-level OTB Chess Is The Issue.

Corollary: Let's Abandon The WCH As A Going Concern For The Next Decade. Seriously.

Yes WCH/reunification would be nice but so would peace in Palestine. If as I assert: Top-level human chess (and how it relates to our personal versions of the game) is the issue, then we're really not so badly off. Consider what we DO have in the bag; it's quite sufficient as far as I'm concerned:

- An enormous legacy of games.
- Two top tourns per year (Wijk and Linares).
- Other good current tournaments to watch/study.

I fully concede per Yermolinksy that the absence of the WCH is bad for top-level chess and the game on the whole... I'm simply suggesting that when faced with an implacable barrier to the north the best thing to do is head southeast. Time will wash away the deadlock folks eventually. (It caught up with Arafat, after all.)

Finally this is not a criticism of Mig's reporting on the various comic twists in WCH developments. Which are entertaining in the way that Seinfeld is entertaining. Instead my remarks are in response to how Mig's WCH-related blogs tends to generate lots and lots of comments, typically 25+. Compare this to his January 25 note on National Chess Week in the UK. Total responses: 1.

Anyway I'm barking up the wrong chess tree and I know it; it's like telling people to stop giving money to Oprah. But I thought I'd mention that it is possible to change focus to the chess that we Do have rather than that we Don't. Just repeat over and over "There's no such thing as a chess world championship; there's no such thing as a chess world championship..." and the rest follows.

I'm with Rob. Golf gets along just fine without a world champion (there is a fairly recently created "World Championship of Golf" made-for-TV tournament, but the title isn't taken seriously). Similarly, tennis and lots of other sports get along just fine without a reigning world champion.

Why not forget about it and concentrate on who wins the chess that is actually being played?

BTW, I think Kramnik is entitled to choose anyone he wants to be his challenger, and Kasparov has no standing to complain. Capablanca didn't get his rematch, and Nimzovich should certainly have gotten a shot instead of Bogolyubov. That's just the way it works when the classical title is divorced from a governing body. And Kasparov has no one to blame but himself for that.

I'm also one of the resigned ones. I long thought dirty but quick will do, but what I've come to realise is that it will not solve anything. No matter what sollutions can be found, the next time around will be just as chaotic.

Joe mentiones something about Kramnik getting "assurances that FIDE will really have a fair cycle..."; but the problem is: Assurances from FIDE are plentiful and not to be trusted.

Therefore I believe that a golf or tennis type of thinking / organizing events is the best we can do for now.

I'll go one step further than Rob Fatland and others who think that we should resign ourselves to not having a unified WC and the best we can do is the golf/tennis type 'majors' awards and maybe Player of the Year designations. I'll say that if a miracle did happen and we once again had a unified WC and candidates cycle, it would not 'save' chess and put it back into it previous glory days. I'll guess that it won't make a bit of difference and that interest in chess would be pretty much the same as it is now - waning.

My theory on its decline is not the lack of a unified WC or the KO tournaments or speed chess as the reasons why interest is down (sponsorship interest at least). I really think it is because of the recent matches between Kasparov and Junior and Kramnik vs Fritz, and ESPECIALLY Kasporov vs Deep Blue. Though Fritz and Junior drew, the one the public remembers most is the human LOSS to DB. That is when the damage was done to chess's image and the ability to raise the previously huge prize funds for matches. We may think it because of no unified WC, but I suspect it's not.

I think for the casual observer and for those who have/had the potential for interest in chess, the fact that it is widely felt that computers will soon be unbeatable by humans is what deters people from pursuing chess, or paying to see it. Kasparov himself has said that in the near future, it will not be whether or not a human can beat a computer in chess, but rather if the human can win a single game at all. This leads to a feeling that even the highest class of humans playing chess might soon be like seeing the minor leagues vs major leagues market.

Of course we are not there yet, and there is still interest and potential money, but once it is pretty much accepted that computers play much better, interest will plummet even more. Those of us alive today, especially the older you are, still remember when humans were dominant by a large margin, and we developed our passion for following chess and WC matches when we knew we were seeing the best. That carries on today, if only from conditioning.

But in 10-20 years, once it is clearly established that computers cannot be beaten by humans, the generation growing up with that realization and those after it will just see chess as a fun game/curiosity, but the whole 'human world champion of chess' title won't mean nearly as much to them. In maybe 30-40 years (a few generations after computers have been the best), I am pretty sure that there will be no such thing as a professional chess player anywhere.

Even a unified title will be tarnished knowing that a 40 dollar program on a home computer is a better player. I think that the steeply declining sponsorship money even today is an indicator that this path of perception is already set in motion, if not implicitly stated by sponsors at this time. The media and publicity, which is the major component for sponsorship money, is lessened even right now not because of the lack of a 'true' WC, but that the recent matches vs computers and the less than stellar results for the humans killed media interest in following chess anymore, and with it, public interest as well. So we should enjoy this last generation or two when FIDE/ACP/unified WC and such even gets our interest aroused at all.

Maybe it is time to get practical. We already have a FIDE champion and a PCA champion. Unification would mean a match between them both, and then a new cycle could start. Some problems with this solution:
i) Kramnik may not want to play on the argument of fairness (some of the best players did not play the FIDE tournament). OK, forget about the match and start working on a new cycle, trying to reach a feasible agreement among chess politicians.
ii) Kramnik may not want to play because there will not be enough money, as no sponsor would like to give away a big sum of money for a match with an almost certain result. Forget about it and start a new cycle.
iii) Kazimdzanov refuses to play arguing that the whole thing is messed up, he won a legitimate tournament against very strong players and does not enjoy beeing underestimated like that.Forget about the match and start a new cycle.

Anyway, my point is there is no easy solution to appoint, in the current state of affairs, a world champion with the status of best player of the world. Whatever the solution may be, in my opinion Kramnik is the legitimate PCA champion, Kazimdzanov is the legitimate FIDE champion, Anand is the best active player, Leko is still a rising star and Kasparov is the best ever. You won´t get any sensible solution without the participation of (almost) all top players. If a match is difficult to get, a whole new cycle promoted by FIDE and PCA is what the chess community should be aiming at.

It pains me to disagree with the insightful observer P-K4, but....

As Kramnik has pointed out, just because humans now own cars doesn't mean they're no longer interested in watching track meets.

The internet has revolutionized the chess world. Databases and training materials once available only in Soviet chess schools are now accessible to a billion internet users. Chess fans can watch Corus, Linares and the World Championship in real time online, with grandmaster commentary. Puzzled chess students can turn to their chess programs for help with their most difficult problems. Grob's Attack afficionados from around the world can link up and play theme tournaments.

Mig's comments about the significance of a championship cycle were right on: "I fondly remember poring over each issue of Inside Chess (RIP) during the interzonals and candidates matches. They quite simply mattered in a way that tournaments and rating points did not.
...the climb to the championship and the battle for the title had meaning in and out of the chess world."

And can you imagine the excitement if Nakamura's U.S Championship win had earned him a spot in the Interzonals and if we had another American World Championship Candidate!? Bring back the good old days!

Is it still possible that a single personality - someone like Nakamura - can fight his way into the chess elite, and create an explosion of popularity for chess like Fischer once did ?

Ok, at 37 and a new member of the USCF, I’ve very new to the world of FIDE. But I can’t get over the fact that it seems that FIDE only seems to promote chess in very unfriendly and unsafe areas. How is it that they can’t get a sponsor for a chess match with the best players in the World? Microsoft and IBM would do this out of petty cash.

If FIDE was serious, they would have the match in a sane, and safe place. It doesn’t even have to be the US, what about Aruba, Fiji, or Tokyo?

Why doesn’t the USCF or ACP just step up and do it?

If FIDE is insane, and their actions surely suggest such, then dump it and move on!

Let’s play some chess!

Mig says Kasparov is still #1 player and also claims he is objective. How laughable!


Kaplik wrote, "Mig says Kasparov is still #1 player and also claims he is objective. How laughable!"

I think Mig means that Kasparov presently holds the #1 rating, which is indisputable. Everyone knows that the rating system is too conservative, as Mig himself has noted in past posts. But until another rating system is adopted, this is the one we have.

Mig has noted elsewhere that Kasparov's actual results over the last couple of years are not consistent with his current rating. Indeed, this is mathematically obvious, given the fact that his rating declines every time a new list comes out.

Kramnik's rating has been on a steady decline too, by the way.

1) Kasparov is the #1 player, at least if you can read. 2) I've never claimed to be objective. Never ever. Objective means not having, or at least not stating, personal opinion and preference. That's boring and that's not what I do and I'm not interested in doing it. TWIC is available to you if you want only objective numbers and results.

What's laughable is criticizing me for claiming things I've never claimed.

I've written many times recently that Anand is playing better than anyone in the world lately. His results have been great. But before you get too eager to bury Kasparov, note that his +5, 2855 performance in the Russian Championship was better than any result Anand has put up during his hot streak.

According to my own rating calculations, with a very dynamic rating formula, Kasparov is still the #1 player. I believe that he dropped down to #2 for a grand total of one month, in October, breaking the longest consecutive run in chess history of months at #1 (going back to 1984), but then his Russian Championship performance put him back at #1 again. I still have results trickling in from then, so my calculations aren't certain yet, but that's what it looks like to me.

If you are still doing ratings calculations, why haven't you updated the chessmetrics website in the last couple of years?

Believe me, I want to! It's a big project and I'm pulling together all the loose ends. It's pretty close to being done; I'll be surprised (and disappointed) if I don't go live with something in the next few months. One of the big changes is that I also have things broken down by event now, so you can see who had the greatest single tournament performance rating of all time (Karpov Linares 1994, of course!) and who had the greatest single match performance rating of all time (Fischer vs. Larsen 1971, of course!)

Hi Mig:

I'm currently living and working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and I must say you hit it right on the head with your statement "They are just looking to make a buck, syphoning their 20% plus kickbacks from the sponsors".

The Dubai chess club is literally two blocks from my apartment, and I spoke with the person who runs the club, who is an international arbiter, and who would have been the main official of the Dubai match. He said the more they learned about Ilyumzhinov's operation, the less they liked it. He had a tendency of taking items on the negotiating table and making them public - before they'd been agreed! Basically, the Dubai match fell down the toilet because the potential sponsorship thought FIDE's people were incompetent, and they did not feel comfortable working with them on the event.

So, I guess if you're wondering where the match will take place, I can almost guarantee it won't be in the Emirates.


Why not each year have a set date and time where the best players are invited, the current WC would sit at the front waiting for the others to battle down to 1 person who would then have the privlidge of playing for WC with the current WC. If the current WC does not show, or refuses to play this or that player her forfiets his WC title. You should not be crowned the WC until you choose to play someone again. Someone thump me if I am babling.


I am not a heavy Chess enthusiest like many here, but I have to say personally the fact a Human lost to a computer does not turn me off to chess. I strongly feel that I would probably be much more into Chess if there was more media coverage, you know on T.V, if poker can create a buzz, so can Chess. I really do not think that the computer beating the human is a factor.


One of the flaws with your ratings system is that though they are dynamic, they don't consider inactivty. Kasparov is an obvious beneficiary of that.


You have been conceding that Kasparov has not been #1 based on his play for the last two years. You also concede that the ratings system are highly flawed and favor kasparov. Yet whenever unifiation talk comes, you trot out the #1 rating of Kasparov as if it means anything. That is what I find laughable. And for the last few months, you have been going on and on about the only good performance Kaspy has had for the last two years (Russian championship). Being opinionated is fine, being hugely biased may not be.


My (newer) ratings are unlike any of the other main formulas out there, in that you do get punished for inactivity. It's different from what's on the Chessmetrics site. The reason Kasparov dropped down to Anand's level on my list was Kasparov's lack of recent games, not some great improvement in Anand's rating. Anand's rating did not change significantly over the year, and Kasparov's dropped down to inactivity. But he's still #1 even after that decline, although as I said Kasparov did briefly drop down to 2nd right before the Russian Championships. Unofficially.

Kapalik, listen to yourself. ANY rating system de facto favors whoever is rated #1 at that moment! We have the system we have and it doesn't favor Kasparov any more than it favors Anand or Nikolic. It's a mathematical formula. I don't like it much, but the bottom line is that Anand hasn't played well enough over a long enough period of time to pass Kasparov. You can't just switch formulas to show what you want when it's convenient for you.

(I would rather have a more dynamic rating system too. In the summer of 2002 Jeff and I were flown to Moscow (by FIDE and Kasparov!) to work on exactly such a thing with a group of Russian rating and math experts. The funding for the project fell through later that year.)

As for Kasparov's Russian Championship win (which I've apparently been going on and on about without mentioning at all), you can't have it both ways. If we use a dynamic system that heavily weighs your most recent results, that would be a major factor. Although he has had fine results, Anand's rating performances have not been exceptional, certainly not of the 2850 level Kasparov scored in Moscow. Or is it "punish Kasparov for inactivity, but don't reward him for recent results"? I'd love to see your rating formula, Kapalik!

The Prague unification plan was in 2002. At time perhaps even you and Greg would have admitted that Kasparov was by far the #1 ranked player in the world, having won ten consecutive supertournaments. (Probably just luck.)

You seem to want rating to reflect exactly what you want to see. At what precise moment do you discard your #1 for your #2 based on a different formula? Or maybe it's your #3 or #4, considering that with a more dynamic formula a few big wins by Morozevich could have briefly put him ahead of Anand at some point.

I have some questions, are the meeting of the best of the best the same every year, from what I am gathering here, this guy does not want to play that guy, this guy does not want to play this guy so on and so on, Nobody should be rated #1, the top 10 or 20 highest rating people in the world should have to come together to play each year for the WORLD #1 title. Maybe more would be required.

I was also thinking that maybe until people from around the world can agree to play each other on a regular basis and their is one sensus of authority, that the United States create a league in the U.S, now it could be based on just individuals, but what baout Team Chess leagues? every state would have like 1 or 2 teams of 5 or 6 players.. shrug im just thinking of ideas.. thump me if I sound crazy.

That is exactly the point. At the time of Prague Kasparov WAS undoubtedly the strongest player in the world. Today he is only definitely "#1" in the very technical sense of being it according to one particular mathematical formula. Change some detail and Anand is #1. Stefan Fischl has his "Improved Elo Rating" at http://members.aon.at/sfischl/ielo0105.txt for example. It does NOT mean Kasparov CAN'T be the "real" #1. He may or may not be.

I think it's a very obvious difference. That is what Kapalik is talking about when he's saying "Yet whenever unifiation talk comes, you trot out the #1 rating of Kasparov as if it means anything".

By the way Kasparov's performance in the Russian Championships was almost exactly what Anand did at about the same time with a 2824 performance in the Olympiad followed by 3.5/4 in the Bundesliga. But that's mainly beside the point, as is Kasparov's dismal Cesme as well. We'll see what happens in Linares where I think Kasparov is significantly more likely than Anand to do well. I tend to believe Leko is stronger than them both at the moment though.

Okay, so let's change "some details" and make whoever you want world #1 whenever you want. Enjoy.

Quoting Kapalik making things up about my opinions and statements doesn't help much. In this thread alone he has lied at least three times about my views.

FIDE wanted the FIDE #1 to play the FIDE champion. Any "trotting out" of the #1 rating of Kasparov started with that simple fact. I've posted tens of thousands of words about the unification process. They are all on record. Show me where, in the past year, I made a big deal about Kasparov being #1 and so deserving to play in the FIDE match. Like most people I just wanted the thing to happen and get it over with. Kasparov was the one in place and it would have been bizarre to replace him when the entire point was to slap together a quick unification and move on to a cycle. Navel-gazing about rating formulas was just another distraction. (And checking the more dynamic Thompson rating list, Morozevich was ahead of Anand in September.)

Certainly if Kasparov had slipped to #2 or lower on a list it would have looked even worse than it was, and it was pretty ugly to begin with. Saying it wouldn't have mattered because in your heart Anand is really #1 is interesting, but rather beside the point.

You are talking nonsense when you say that - "ANY rating system de facto favors whoever is rated #1 at that moment!" That is a highly inaccurate statement if somewhat sensational.

You have been arguing all along that Kasparov deserves to be seeded into the reunification because of his #1 rating. I am saying that it is no longer the case (was the case in 2002). By your logic it should be Anand playing Kasim (that's not my stand though - I prefer Kramnik playing the winner of a proper qualifier). Your earlier posts on this issue seem to be in agreement with my view and yet you stick to your stand that Kasparov should be directly seeded and doesn't need to go through qualifiers.


On rating systems:

I think the ideal system for current situation would be a modified Thomson system. It is right in giving a greater weightage to more recent results. However, it looks at the last so many games and should instead look at last so many years (maybe last 2 or 3 years) - that's what other sports do. Players like Kasparov have abused the ratings system by playing very little and thus making their old results count and retain the #1 ranking. Mig is wrong in saying that the system favors all #1 players. These systems only favor those #1 players who prefer to play very less. That way they can stay fresh, hide all their home preparation, and minimize ratings drop.

For the real picture on who's done well, we can also look at the average ELO performance in various tournamnets for the last one, two, and three years. There are sites with that kind of data. However, one needs to have an open, unbiased mind to correctly interpret the data.


You missed the point of my statement. If you are #1 the system benefits you. Anand benefits because the system makes him, and not Peter Leko, #2. (If the system were super-dynamic it would be Leko.) You would prefer a system that at this moment in time would benefit Anand over Kasparov. Actually, so would I. This is different from somehow exploiting or manipulating the system, which is what you seem to imply Kasparov is doing.

Kasparov is the still the #1 according to the same system in place in 2002. Kasparov was chosen by FIDE in 2002 because he was the #1 player on their rating list. That there is a fun argument about Anand or anyone else being better at any given moment is entirely different from the simple fact that Kasparov is STILL FIDE's #1 rated player and has been throughout the process. (Which, I might add, is or should be over, so this is pointless on several levels.)

You would prefer a system that rewards the player who has been playing best recently (but not TOO recently).

I've never said Kasparov shouldn't go through qualifiers now that Prague is dead. FIDE said that and Kasparov feels that way. Since it was FIDE's title to give, as long as they were willing it seemed like a strange but expedient way to unify the title quickly, which was the issue at hand.

At the moment I would prefer they start from scratch. Kramnik's title has been tainted by delays and a flawed qualifier, but he's the only game in town. You can make a historical case for Leko being seeded later into a potential cycle (which we don't have). Doing the same for Kasparov and/or Anand would be a concession to the same rating system/s we are criticizing and a sop to the celebrity-driven system we seem to be addicted to. It doesn't seem too unreasonable if it helps get sponsorship and creates a winner we can all be happy with, but it's still a sop.

As long as we're on the topic, my rating formula does indeed take a weighted average of your performance across the past four years, so a game played 36 months ago would only count 25% as much as a game played in the past month. I tried going back 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. years with this scheme, and the super-dynamic formulas didn't do as good a job at predicting future results, so I would call them too dynamic. The best one that I found at predicting immediate future results, and thus the most "accurate" estimate of a player's strength, is to go back four years with this weighting scheme. And by this formula, calculated monthly, Garry Kasparov has been the #1 player in the world for 239 of the past 240 months, and he is still the #1 player right now.

So it's a lot like the Thompson formula, but based on years rather than # of games, just like Kapalik said. Plus I have a trick where I pad your results with a constant number of "fake" draws. As your number of weighted games over the past four years drops, this "padding" becomes more and more significant, and thus your rating drops even though you haven't played any more games. Thus the "punishment" for inactivity. There are some more details to my formula, but that's it in a nutshell.


Your rating formula seems quite right. Thomson's
formula does seem a bit too dynamic. What good is
a formula if it can't reasonable predict likely

One thing I am not sure about is going back four
years. Two (or at most) three years seems fine.
No sport goes that car. AFAIK, golf goes back two
years in a weighted scale. I am curious what the
ratings now would be if you went back two and
three years. Going back four years seems to be
bringing in historical baggage (albeit at a
lower weight) with little relevance to predicting future results and more about consistency. One has to do well for four years
or more to be rated really high.

Looking forward to the details in your web site.


The trick we've been struggling with is whether "best predictor" (i.e. most accurate) is the ideal or if the rating list should serve as an attraction and incentive. You have to serve both masters. Other than juniors and seniors, best predictor is likely to use a long time span like three or four years. Form simply doesn't last more than an event or two, especially nowadays when the top players play so infrequently.

If the list were more dynamic, and the Thompson formula approximates this, we would see jumps and rewards and punishments for performances over an event or two, like tennis. This goes against tradition of rating attempting to describe some sort of objective strength, but it is more of a historical figure than a rating/ranking based on current results. Boring!

There is certainly a strong argument for making the rating system less about objective strength and more about recent results. However, we may be getting a somewhat skewed perspective because of the specifics of our time. My four-year approach does leave Kasparov at the top for 20 straight years, and it even had a top three made up of the same three people (Kasparov-Anand-Kramnik) since Linares 1997, when Kramnik moved into 3rd in front of Karpov, although of course Anand and Kramnik have traded 2nd-3rd many times. As I said above, my data is a few months behind because I'm still waiting for final results to trickle in, so I'm not sure about the top three right now.

Nevertheless, in times where the "objectively strongest" player is clear, wouldn't you want that player to be your "top-ranked player", as far as the rest of the non-chess world is concerned? Compare these two lists:

Fischer moving into #1 in 1966 after the Piatigorsky Cup
Karpov moving into #1 in 1974 after Fischer drops off the list due to inactivity
Kasparov passes Karpov in late 1982
Karpov takes back #1 for a few months at the start of their first match
Kasparov is #1 for twenty years
Anand briefly takes back #1 in 2004 until Kasparov regains himself at the Russian Championships

That's very few lead changes in almost 40 years, but I don't think many people would disagree with that assessment about who the most successful player was, except for possibly something about Anand in the late 90's, where he came within 14 points of Kasparov on my list.

On the other hand, in turbulent times, like the mid-1960's, is this "dynamic enough"?
Petrosian #1 from 1961 through January of 1964, then Fischer #1 from February 1964 through March 1965, then Tal #1 from April 1965 through August 1965, then Korchnoi #1 from September 1965 through December 1965, then Spassky #1 from January 1966 through May 1966, then Tal #1 from June 1966 through July 1966, then Spassky #1 in August 1966, then Fischer takes over in September 1966 as I said.

That's more lead changes in a two-year span than in our last forty years. Similarly, we see Botvinnik/Bronstein/Reshevsky/Smyslov flip-flopping around nine times in the early 1950's. So it really depends on the era. I just wouldn't want us to go overboard into something that wouldn't be taken as seriously. Of course, it depends on what you want it to mean. I don't know too much about golf, but I was following Vijay Singh taking over #1 from Tiger Woods, and my impression at least was that Tiger is still really the best player, but he wasn't doing as well and deserved to lose the #1 spot which was strictly results-based going back one year. I could see the same thing in chess, I suppose...

My question is this, how does Anand become #1 without playing someone who is considered #1, and how does Kasparov take back the #1 without playing Anand, to me this is just silly, if these 2 guys have great ratings they need to play each other to truely know who is #1

I remember in the 80's the Oakland A's were just about unstopable, and the L.A Dodgers went to play the A's in the World Series, the Dodgers were said to have no hope in hell, yet they spanked the A's and took the World Series. It just goes to show that numbers are just that.. numbers, they can show that yes they are good, but until the 2 actually play you never know who really is the best.

I say this each year the top 10 or 20 rated players have to play for a chance to be crowned #1 for that year, if you do not play hey your bumped from being #1 even if you were #1 last year and your rating is 3000 this year, if you are one of the top 20 rated people you will be asked to play in the Championship tournament, if you do not show you will not be rated #1 based on your "rating" alone. You have to play in the Championship tournament.

Every year your rating would be droped to 0 and they all start over again, that way nobody can just sit with a 2800 rating and say hey man im #1, you have to play each year to get a rating high enough to be considered to play in the Championship and then you have to play in the Championship to be crowned #1.

Mig wrote: "I've never said Kasparov shouldn't go through qualifiers now that Prague is dead. FIDE said that and Kasparov feels that way."
That is a scoop to me. Is Garry really ready to enter a Candidates' cycle if it comes to that ? When (and to whom) did he say so ? Would he be ready to help putting it together ??

BTW great having Jeff Sonas on the blog. I'll be impatiently waiting for your new chessmetrics site !

Not what I meant. Exact opposite. FIDE said that Kasparov didn't have to play in a qualifier (before playing Kasimdzhanov) and Kasparov also feels that he shouldn't have to to face Kramnik. I was explaining the difference between my statements and what FIDE did and how Kasparov feels.

So you mean: Kaspy won't accept entering in a Candidates's cycle, if one gets organised ? Or will he (if there is no other way, even he doesn't think it fair) ? Sorry but your convoluted answer leaves me wondering...

I'm not speaking for Kasparov, I'm only saying what he has been saying for the past four years. He hasn't given a statement about the matter lately, but he hates all this hypothetical BS anyway. If someone organizes an event and it's really going to happen, they should give him a call.

The question is if someone were to put together an event, and say hey Kasparov will be here, along with all other to rated Candidates, will all those top candidates come?

If the most recognizable name in chess, the "World's #1", won't take a leading role in re-establishing the Interzonal/Candidates cycle he shattered, the next best thing would be for him to be soundly beaten in in his next few tournaments. Then, having lost his "#1" ranking, he'd have more incentive to participate in Candidates Matches. And fewer people would care if he boycotted them.

Won't take a leading role? What was the PCA? Kasparov's work led to an entire alternative cycle and world championship outside of FIDE and brought millions of dollars into the game. It didn't last forever, but nothing does. Kasparov is no longer the world champion and yet you still want him to organize (and perhaps fund?) a cycle. That buck got passed in 2000.

People caring about Kasparov and other top players is the problem. We have a cult of personality instead of a professional sport. As long as a few players are bigger than the game and its organizations things aren't going to improve. We talk more about those who don't play or might not play than about those who do.


People care about Kasparov and the top players because they admire them, because they are in the spot light. They are the ones the media pays attention too.

I would say that the organizations need to work with the top players, the top players draw attention and media, the organizations organize events, but they both have to work together.

When Kasparov played the world in the online chess game, that was a huge draw of attention.

Top players do not need to put money up front, only show up to an organized event all at the same time and I am sure there would be a major buzz.

How do we get people talking about players that play all the time, to get to know them, get the current top players to create a buzz. Just like how after the Olympics when a country's team does well in an event, it boosts younger athletes to want to take part in that event and try to become the next person to win that event.

All of you seem to be convinced that current rating system is invalid and it should give more weight to recent results. However, i disagree.
To indicate a player's true strength, the rating system must take account long-term success. It moves slowly, and that is exactly the benefit of it. Everyone is afraid of someone (Kasparov?) exploiting the system, but such a fear is more theoretical than based on reality (similar as to some people's reaction to the WC match system Fischer wanted). And as far as Kasparov exploiting the system, is it not as valid an argument that he has simply been busy with books and politics than to consciously "exploit the rating system to keep at #1"?
Anyway, FIDE removes completely inactive players from the list for the time being, like they removed Judith Polgar, so i don't quite see how this would be a big problem in reality.

i think this criticism for rating system is more rooted in how some people just feel that Anand should be #1...well, he's very close to Kasparov in strength, i agree, but which is better will only be determined between them. As long as Anand hasn't proven that he is stronger in reality, not just in the minds of his fans, he should be #2 in the rating system, too. You see, Kasparov has shown his strength time and again for the last 20 years and more...how quick you are to forget and move on!
Anand sometimes plays like an angel, but also a lot of times his performance is lacklustre. Kasparov sometimes plays like an angel, sometimes it's the bomb...but the fact is, Kasparov has continued playing and hopefully will do so, and in the end their respective ratings will even out the right way (and if K didn't really play for so long his name would be removed from the rating list; and if he kept slowly degenerating, his rating would be every few months easier for Anand to catch).

So i ask, is the problem with current rating system really that huge as you think?
Or is it just the politically correct hyped opinion at the moment to be unhappy with the rating system?


No rating system is "invalid". Every system assigns a number to each player according to a formula it doesn't make a secret of. It's up to us to interpret it.

If a player is obviously the strongest in the world, it wouldn't matter if the rating system says otherwise. Who other than ELO fundamentalists would have cared if Kasparov for some reason only would have been #2 or #3 at his peak? And if no player is clearly the strongest, like today, it's going to be arbitrary and depend on details in the formula who will be "#1" anyway.

The only thing "invalid" here is the tendency to rely uncritically on dry numbers.

What i meant by invalid is that in the opinion of many people here the rating system now doesn't adequately represent the strength of players (Kasparov #1, Anand #2...though if you ask me, it's even worse than Kramnik is #4!). This is all i was trying to convey by 'invalid'.
The current rating system, imho, represents better the true strength than any rating system that would give more weight to recent results at the expense of one's overall performance.

In short, i argue that there is nothing wrong with the current rating system as so many here seem to think...at least not the points that have been brought up here.

But what's wrong with it is that it's "easy" to get a relatively high rating by not playing high-rated opponents...but that's a small problem and will always even out itself eventually.

Dry numbers are dry numbers, but i think even a dry number rating system is much more reliable than the "i feel" system by which many would place Anand immediately above Kasparov.


I think some people are unhappy not so much about Kasparov still being #1 in FIDE's current system, but that he gets privileges based on this #1.

Well, in 2002 he was undisputed #1, justifying his special seeding in the Prague agreement. The agreement would have made sense if everything got done in a year, but it wasn't to be.

Two years down the road people started questioning Kasparov's eligibility for preferential seeding because he did not maintain his stellar results from 1999-2002. Unfortunately, we can't expect quick results in a sport like chess, and his preferential seeding was nothing but "Prague still going". You can't expect to finalize unification if you change rules in midstream. (BTW, the unification processs would be even slower if everything were decided on 6+ game matches, as some people so vehemently advocate here.)

I agree that for some time Mig was unclear about whether Kasparov's preferential seeding (given the twists and turns in the existing state of affairs) was justified, and I even posted that sometime a while ago. I think he has clarified that recently: he was for that preferential seeding as long as it allowed chess to quickly see a unified world champion and move on; now that Prague is over, he no longer advocates such seeding. It is a consistent position and one I agree with.

Well, why many chides Mig is..as long as Kasparov was part of unification and Prague was not dead...he (Mig) touts about no.1 ranking, one time privillages,quick chess unification etc...
But now it is clear that Kasparov may not be part of any unification and He may loose (or lost) his no.1 rating( by some counts)...and guess what..everything is topsy turvy.Now Mig finds replacing Kasparov with a real no.1(if at all one is there) or simply replacing him with Anand or Leko or trying to keep Prague alive all become ridiculous and big nos.
Prague never brought any unfication in 4 years, never unified anything, never brings any consensus, never created anything progressive in chess and never stopped chess world furthur splitting,furthur messing, furthur loosing glory, money,prestige etc.....

All of us asked are soaked in the glorification( o.k...justification) of Prague all these years.As if there are no alternatives, as if nobody suggested anything, as if it was the best thing to happen in given conditions...etc..
Never Mig stopped promoting Prague till Kasparov announcement happen.Now..Prague ?where it is ?what it is?A typo?is it Plague?..
What a consistency.

i don't quite understand how Kasparov's ranking as #1 by rating is disputed now. Also even if i did pretend to understand that, i don't understand for what reason he should be excluded now after so much time has passed for the reunification match, that's not his fault. Isn't part of the reason his rating has fallen that he has played so little, many times missing tournaments etc. for the sake of waiting for the WC match?

And don't pretend it's not like that, because if he had played in all the tournaments as he should have, his rating would not have gone down as he would not have lost his edge (only cynics could say that his rating would have gone down more...a claim completely without merit). Waiting dulled him a little bit, but as in 2004 he started playing again more, he regained his edge. Linares will prove that, i am certain.

And as for time taking its toll on the participants of the unification, what of Kramnik? He is merely a shadow of what little he used to be, and he has played quite a lot.
In his case you may wanna hide behind the fact that he is WC atm, but a little bit of consistency never hurt anyone. Right now that title means very little and reunification should be top priority.

In the end my point is that i really don't understand why certain people are adament that Kasparov should not get preferential treatment, that it's unfair that he must not go through qualifier. But if you look at the facts, and add that he's been on top for so long, maybe you find it not so unreasonable?
And didn't he say he will agree to any qualifier where he starts on the same level with Kramnik? Now only if you are very buerocratical will you not agree that there is an idea in that, and perhaps if you look at it that way his treatment isn't so horribly preferential.
So for example it could go that Kasparov and Kasimdzhanov play, then the winner plays Kramnik and the winner, the current holder of the title, is still required to play Anand. That way no one would be excluded, and they would be at equal level.

As for cycle after that, Candidates matches back etc, all been said before.

Btw, i wouldn't support the idea that chess WC is made like any other WC in sports. Chess is different, no matter how much popularizers want to pretend it's not. Ridiculous to play WC match every year, for example, it will rip all credibility and prestige from the title, except in the minds of the laymen...but i guess many people think money rules so that should be done anyway?

WC title has mattered so much in chess because it's hard to come by, and it's always been the elite of the elite battling for it, and it's been rare. If it's a yearly thing, it's basically not worth much more than any tournament win.



Hmm well I am a laymen, I feel that every year that new people come up that could challenge the Champion, and if there is a event every year that they could have an opportunity to fight for that title.

Just because Uncle bob has a rating of 2800 and that is the highest should that make them the WC? No, they should be touted the #1 rated player.. are we saying that a 2800 rated player will always beat the 2500 player? I say make them play each other to find out.

"i don't quite understand how Kasparov's ranking as #1 by rating is disputed now."

Because lately he has kept his rating mostly by not playing, whereas in 2002 he had won 10 consecutive supertournaments in a row, often in devastating fashion.

"Waiting dulled him a little bit, but as in 2004 he started playing again more, he regained his edge."

Anand and Leko also have their stellar moments, but one tournament alone (i.e the Russian Championship) does not allow for conclusive results. As an example, in 1999 Anand had a +6 performance in Wijk aan Zee but was joint last in Dos Hermanas. Depending on which tournament you looked at you could say Anand was either superb or in decline in 1999.

"Linares will prove that , i am certain."

If you are so sure I advise you to put all your money on Kasparov in Betsson.com and you will become rich! Seriously though, how can you be so sure Kasparov is still the best and that age is not getting the better of him? Kasparov's play has clearly declined since 2002 (his tournament wins were no longer as impressive, and his last two Linares tournaments were poor for his standards), and claiming that this is the result of inactivity rather than age is pure speculation.

Since we are on this topic: I disagree with Mig when he says that "Kasparov's rating goes up when he plays more". He would be quick to point that in 1999 he was inactive, lots of people were putting him down for good, but then he staged an amazing comeback by playing one tournament after another and smashing the competition. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened since 2002 (a long period of abstinence followed by a streak of tournament wins). Besides, Kasparov is now 3 years older and appears to have lost quite a bit of his calculating abilities - just witness how often he was in time trouble in Linares last year, and "blew away 4 completely winning positions".

With Prague over and Kasparov free to play supertournaments, the burden is on him to prove he is still head over shoulders above everyone else (like in 1999). Maybe in a year or two Kasparov will once again assert his dominance - let's wait and see.

People sat down in Prague and signed things. Swapping Kasimdzhanov for Ponomariov was weird enough, although FIDE signed in Prague and not Ponomariov. Swapping out one of the principals just makes the whole thing even more contrived.

What I resent is the accusation that I've ever been unreservedly enthusiastic about Prague. My first reports from Prague were in the same "better than nothing" vein, although I did my best to promote it in the interest of keeping everyone on board. See, I actually want unification and for me working for it goes beyond posting snide remarks on a blog. If you never do anything that's not perfect you'll never do anything.

The other problem with replacing Kasparov with Anand or anyone else is that one of the points of having him on board was that if he weren't participating, his rating and reputation would be a looming shadow over any event and the eventual winner. "Yeah, but Kasparov is still the #1" etc. Especially if the event was open to criticism in other ways. That Kasparov isn't as dominant now as he was in 2002 doesn't mean someone else could fill that role.

Note that this is worthless anyway because Kramnik would still have to play the winner of anything FIDE produces, assuming they produce anything of course.

Linares is wonderful, but would anyone say Anand ceased to be Anand if he made a poor score? Some might say that about Kasparov, the way the did in 1998, because of his age. But unless something really horrible or really great happens with one of the favorites, it's not going to be a revolution or change the unification possibilities. The last two years have seen tight, boring events won by minimal scores. I'd be happy to see more wins regardless of who wins!

MIG said, "People caring about Kasparov and other top players is the problem. We have a cult of personality instead of a professional sport. As long as a few players are bigger than the game and its organizations things aren't going to improve."

I agree completely! Chess should be considered in a manner completely independent of the personalities involved. We need a system in place that dictates how the chess world runs, and the system should never be able to be hijacked by any player. If a player does not want to participate, then they are out.

Also, so many people keep posting that chess' world title should be determined each year. I disagree. Chess is not like other sports. It takes time to go through a true cycle. Also, I think it would weaken the importance of the world title to have another champ each year. Right now we revere our world champs and we know each of them. Once you start having a new one every year we will stop remembering them and stop revering them. A two year cycle is the quickest I can see it happening, though I think 3 years is ideal.

I would say that 3 years is too far apart to create hype and attention high enough to keep it in the spot light long enough to entice young people to want to play, and to get to know who the Champions are and to care who they are.

Chess currently is not like other sports, correct, but I see that as the reason that it strugles to be considered something serious, it is only in the eyes of those who are dedicated, for those youngsters who are interested, but not sure if they would want to really become dedicated to chess there is not enough media coverage to promote chess.

I really do not understand why you would not want to have a yearly Championship, could do a country championship every year, and a world championship every 2 years..

You comments are confusing. We already do have country championships every year, and I did suggest having the world championship every 2, though I prefer 3. Honestly, I think chess players, whether young or old, are going to be more impressed and have more reverence for world champions who truly seem legitimate. Having a new one every year would just make them forgettable.

Ahh, see I did say I am a layman. As for the WC, it just needs to happen, even if 3 years.


your silence on this matter is deafening! Is Garry going to agree to FIDE's conditions and sign the paper by Feb. 26 to play in Turkey or not? use some of the preferred access you have and get us the dirt man!


Last word I hear was no, unless the money's in the bank. Same as before. And I'm sure as heck not going to call him in Linares until after a win, especially after the way these first two games have gone!

Thanks Mig.

'And I'm sure as heck not going to call him in Linares until after a win, especially after the way these first two games have gone!'

LOL. That sounds very pragmatic. Kramnik virus strike you too?

Apart from the self-preservation instinct it's just being polite. It's bad enough having this going on while he's playing without me bugging him too.

It's probably safe now.

I understand that Kasparov is a great player (IMO, the greatest of all time) and deserves to be compensated for playing. I also think his recent results (which seem to show that when he does play, he is still very strong indeed) dictate that he gets a least a chance to play in any qualification process for a title match. But if he chooses not to play (against Kasim, in some sort of match tournament, not necessarily FIDE's), it just makes things more tricky.

What I don't understand is why the money is such a sticking point for him. Although I don't know anything about his personal finances, I would guess that he has to be fairly wealthy at this point, and I would think that he would be more interested in getting another shot at the title than a guaranteed payday. But it doesn't seem to be that way, because he seems to focus on bank guarantees and suchlike over sporting opportunities.

I don't want to single Kasparov out here, as I think there is a growing tendency among the top players (Kramnik, for example) to try and squeeze every dollar possible out of every achievement, and feel entitled to do so. And, as noted in other posts, maybe the '90s matches led to inflated expectations regarding money among the top players. But it suprises me a bit coming from Kasparov, who I would think (I could be wrong, I have read that Anand makes a lot of money) would be the top player most able to afford taking a bath on the prizefund for a chance at a World Championship match. Of course, its possible that Kasparov's withdrawal from a FIDE title bout with Kasim had more to do with Kramnik's statements suggesting he would not play the winner than the problems with guaranteed prize funds. But if this is true, you would think he would just say so.

Basically, I think the desire for unrealistic amounts of money has become such a problem that a World Championship cycle needs to be put in place that leaves the players absolutely no choice about whether to play or not if they want to compete for the World Championship. IMO, it's unfortunate that chess is not a big money sport, but it's not and it probably never will be. Under the old system, Candidates Matches and even World Champtionship matches were not always lucrative for the players, but the matches went forward anyway. I think the chess world needs some similar system in place, and soon, because many of the top players seem unable to put long-term considerations regarding the legitimacy of the World Championship process over their own short-term financial interests. If such a system can be implemented, then all this talk about bank guarantees and big paydays will no longer control the process.

Just my opinion.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 17, 2005 6:56 AM.

    Love Is in the Air was the previous entry in this blog.

    Your Federation and You is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.