Greengard's ChessNinja.com

World Championship Game

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No, not a chess game. It could be a while before we see another one of those. My latest Mig on Chess column at ChessBase includes a board game that lets you play along on the road to the championship. Unfortunately it's quite realistic. I left out a few cheapos here and there, maybe for the second edition.


"I left out a few cheapos here and there"

and what was that:

"date wealthy heiress who sponsors a tournament for you"

c'mon mig, we know you can do better

If folks spent half the energy working on a new cycle that they spend mocking what's left of the old one we'd have had an interzonal years ago. Always easier to tear something down than to build something up.

Haven't we had enough "humor" on this dead-horse topic? Who will be the hero who puts together a new world championship cycle? How about an organization that sells chess products? How about a chess journalist?

Greg --

If you spent as much time on anything as you do running around posting criticisms of everything Mig says, the world would no longer have cancer, hate, AIDS, Michael Bolton, or athlete's foot. Instead of criticizing Mig for not saving the chess universe, why don't you step up and solve the problem yourself?

I think Greg and Mig are the same person--it's a Fight Club kind of thing.

I totally loved the game; it's definitely the best pardody I've seen so far on the current state of affairs.

heheh..good stuff, although you'll have an army of wünderboys aiming to kill you now.

Good but not your best. My favourite forever remains http://www.chessbase.com/columns/column.asp?pid=169

Yes Greg, all sports writers should be players or politicians, all critics should be authors, all movie reviewers should be actors. Good thinking.

I participated actively in the Prague agreement in several (minor) aspects. Nor do I think my articles are worthless in promoting ideas for change. Both FIDE and Kramnik's camp have in the past responded directly and indirectly to my public writings. Criticizing bad ideas is also valuable. Having a laugh isn't so bad either.

Worst are those who complain about everyone someone does, and then complain even more when their target does nothing. It's like the Woody Allen joke about the two women talking about a restaurant: "The food there is terrible." "Yes, and the portions are so small."

I make my ideas public and I provide a forum for others to discuss and promote ideas. Players and politicians read and post here, and fans have a chance to make their opinions known.

The entire point of a cycle is to play the world champion, right? Unless Kramnik signs on it's all irrelevant. Why whine at me about not creating something out of thin air? The ball is in the court of Kramnik and his organization, the ACP. He deemed the last unification plan unacceptable, rendering it null and void. Are we all supposed to work hard on plans to bring to his highness on a silver platter to await his thumbs-up or thumbs-down? If he is going to sit in judgement he may as well participate in making the plan himself so there's a chance he'll accept it.

FIDE ignores Kramnik, Kramnik ignores FIDE. All the plans in the world aren't going to change that unless a lot of money is put on the table. So it's up to one side or both to propose their own plans. Kramnik/ACP has the responsibility as champion, just like Kasparov had it after the 1993 breakaway. Last time they called Dortmund a qualifier and cycle in one. Would everyone be happy if they did that again? Lutz/Naiditsch forever! To be fair, at least Lutz was kind enought to score 0.5/2 against all three other players. And Dortmund 2002 was a phenomenal tournament. Not exactly democratic as a cycle though.

BTW, I deleted a few troll comments (by the same person under two names). I'm fine with criticism or I wouldn't write, but lame attempts to provoke we don't need. That sort of thing only leads to a defend/attack loop, just as the troll intended. Cut loose on the message boards all you like, but we try to keep the dialogue somewhat more elevated, or at least amusing, here. As traffic increases this will become more difficult, but I'll try.

Yes, the ball's in Kramnik's court.

His title-defense efforts were obstructed by contractual obligations to Braingames last time around. This time the main obstacle will probably be Kasparov's demand to be seeded into a final Candidates match versus Anand's anticipated boycott of any such arrangement.

It would be nice to see Kasparov and Anand, as World's #1-2, and Leko, as 2004 world championship "loser", seeded into 8-person Candidates matches. (In the good old days, even a defeated world champion was "merely" given one of the eight Candidate slots.) The other five places could be awarded to winners of pre-existing events...the Russian Championship, etc. Not sure what's a fair status for Pono and Kasim.

IF Kasp and Anand sign on to participating in 8-person Candidates matches I can't imagine there'd be any problem attracting sponsors for that Candidates event or the next World Championship.

While the ball's in Kramnik's court, the possibilities of success are heavily dependent upon the cooperation of Kasparov and Anand, which was absent last time around.

The seeding is a difficult question. Kasparov and Leko are both losers of WCh matches, but if Kramnik holds true to form he will insist that Kasparov start from scratch, saying he could have played in Dortmund 2002.

Of course if Anand is pre-qualified on rating, Kasparov will be too, but qualification on rating alone is just the sort of thing you want to avoid in building a "perfect" cycle in which everyone has to play. Democracy and all that. Ideally you want to decrease the importance of rating by increasing the importance of the qualifiers and matches. That way scoring a big win in a category 13 somewhere (a la Morozevich) doesn't help you directly in the world championship hunt. That's what makes it special. Too many exemptions are bad. They are also tough as precedents because you'll have people jockeying for those spots by not playing.

So it's tricky. Leko, definitely. Kasparov as former WCh participant, maybe. Anand as #2 and Kasparov as #1, maybe. That's already almost half your field and you wouldn't want to do that each time around. Having a big interzonal for only five spots is rough. If the rating list were more dynamic, it would be a logical reward, but right now it would too easy to sit on your points and automatically be put in the WCh.

It's also possible to build in a Grand Prix structure, as the ACP is trying to do. Give points for winning events, those points qualify you for participation in the candidates, or interzonal. But I'd like to keep at least most of the world championship path exclusive. *When* you win should be important. That many great players couldn't do it when it mattered most is given great relevance in chess history, and not without reason.

Guess you have deleted my post by citing it as a repeated post? I didn't see it repeated anywhere??

And, it didn't even have enough criticism in there. It just had lines like "Hope we can get Mig of the old back somehow....", which were purely echoing most of your readers.
You just lost the last bit of my admiration. Go do your job and earn the bread. I am outta here. Simple waste of time.

Yawn. I've been hearing "old Mig" crap since my second column. Don't pretend you speak for most of my readers. I'm the one getting all their email, last I checked. If I recall, your post and/or the similar one was something about the board game being done in five minutes and edited. I didn't understand it. It took me around four hours, try it yourself from scratch. Then there was something random about the Accoona match. Waste of time indeed.

Where's all this money I'm supposed to be making by writing articles you don't like? Actually, I just found your deleted post and apparently I used to be humorous AND no-nonsense, not to mention impartial and independent. Toward whom is the boardgame partial? I tire of hearing this garbage whenever someone disagrees with me. Post knowledge, facts, contrary information, anything of value.

Seeding in the first candidates’ tournament could be different from seeding in subsequent tournaments. Kasparov and Anand deserve to be included because they have been at the top of the chess world for a long time, and because they did not get a chance to challenge Kramnik in the last cycle. For subsequent cycles the people who get to the finals of a candidates’ tournament would be seeded into the next one.

I agree about Anand and Kasparov this time around, although Ivanchuk would have a good claim too. (Maybe Ponomariov and Kasimdzhanov as well?!) In the future it should be previous challenger or champion only as automatic candidate, if even that. Really there's no good reason to give a challenger "win one candidates cycle, get one free!" But just one spot seems reasonable.

We have to start again as if we have no idea how good anyone is. Once you give someone special seeding it never ends, this should be clear by now.
That's the principle, I'm not saying I know how to find the money to do it.

Someone, probably Churchill, said that democracy is a dreadful political system but the others are far worse. I've come to feel much the same way about old-fashioned Interzonals.

Since interzonals are much debated I've been trying to find information on the structure, but have not been entirely succesful. Does anyone have a link to a good introduction?

I think the problem is not how the World Championship should be organised. Most of the methods mentioned are ok and acceptable.

However it is the players who are the problems to any system. Unless top players, ignore their personal demands for just this moment, agree to be on a level playing field with others without demanding anything, then no solution will be found.

The players have to make a "sacrifice" to give back to chess what chess gave to them. Stop demanding things and just play.


Let's assume we have a “fair” candidates systems in place. Let’s also assume that YOU are the owner/CEO/etc of a company and are looking to sponsor an event. Now, why would you sponsor chess, when sponsoring other sports/games such as bowling (I know some people call this a sport) would be much more beneficial in terms of getting the word out about your company. I for one don’t see a good business case for it, not to mention the ridiculous sums of money chess professionals want. Sorry if this is off topic.



I agree with you in general but there are natural sponsors for chess. Chessplayers have to buy computers to play and study chess (databases & internet chess). Intel is a natural sponsor. So are makers of PCs like Dell and HP. If these guys sponsor a tournament, they might influence buying decisions of many chessplayers. I bought an Intel based PC when Intel was sponsoring chess. When they stopped sponsoring, my later PCs were AMD based. Had Intel continued sponsorship, I am sure I would continue to buy Intel just to support chess through them.

Other natural sponsors include Ministry of Tourism of various nations, hotels, airlines, and chess related computer programs. I know a guy who has played in an Aeroflot tournament two years ago and is participating again this year. He is a chess tourist. He probably dropped $2000 in Moscow two years ago and will likely drop that much again this year. Kudos for the organizers doing something right to attract repeat business. However, this is evidence of significant chess economics, of the need of sponsors to influence the buying decisions of chessplayers.

There are new ways of being able to attract sponsors now that chess has exploded on the internet. Perhaps sponsors of interzonals/world championships should get to have their product advertised in some way on playchess.com during the live broadcasts? That would bring the sponsors lots of viewers if done tastefully enough (not rammed down the viewers throats, they are after all going there to see chess games). Chess is the only sport that can take true advantage of the internet; we should use that advantage.


The big three internet chess clients, WCN, ICC, and Playchess, all do not have advertising of any kind, no popups, banners, flash, or ticker-tapes. The windows of all three clients are already quite busy with all their features and with monitor space at a premium, any additional windows to support advertising will likely annoy viewers. Furthermore, these clients are user-pay and to get them to watch ads while paying for service is like those greedy Hollywood movie-makers forcing theatre-goers to watch 10 minutes of ads before the movie.

Still, I support ads of some kind if it means sponsorship of tournaments. I believe that will indeed happen in the near future. I just hope the ads are not of the offensive kind, viagra, penis-enlargement, teen porn, get-rich-quick, and Martians-have-landed types.

On another front, the New Battlestar Galactica attracts 1.5 to 2 million viewers per episode. Those are pathetic numbers when compared to public broadcasts and if the show were on UPN on Friday nights (the worst possible slot and weakest possible network) it would finish last with those numbers. Yet the series is being picked up for a second season. The reason is those numbers are great for specialty pay cable like the Sci-Fi Channel. In my area, I can not subscribe to the Sci-Fi Channel alone but must pay for a package with a bunch of other specialty channels, around $10-20 depending.

My point is, why does FIDE not produce something like the Chess Channel carried on specialty cable channels? The numbers do not have to be good because subscribers pay for the show. I do think the numbers have to be 50,000+ subscribers to be viable, but since you have to start somewhere to grow the market, low numbers might be ok at the beginning. Surely a committment of some FIDE $$ in this direction is more promising than paying off a bunch of elite players?

I am aware that there is no advertising now on playchess.com, but I think they should seriously consider having perhaps a pop-up applet for showing event games and having the applet show tasteful advertising for the sponsors. The main point I am trying to get across is that chess is the only natural sport for the internet, and it is foolish not to recognize this and take advantage of it. Corporations all over the world are VERY interested in the internet, and such interest will only grow. I think if we can collect data on how much chess interest there is on the net (weren't the most watched internet events from chess?), we can gain sponsors by showing them what size of an audience they can expect for their ads.

The biggest problem with the world championship right now, is the split between FIDE and the PCA, ACP or whatever they call it, perhaps on the time i first occured it made some kind of sense, nevertheless, as it is, there is no authority whatsoever by someone to give the boot to Kramnik if he gets unreasonable (as deservedly happened to Fischer in 1975). Kasparov demanding some kind of special seeding does not help, and as such, i do not believe there will be an accepted unified world chess champion for quite some time. However, if Kasparov agreed to participate in any kind of qualification for te world championship, Kramnik would be forced to accept, or be booted from the process without anyone protesting.

Funny article! I really enjoyed reading this one.

I believe the two keys are:

1) The show must go on: No postponing/canceling matches because there is not *enough* money. (Can you imagine if the people weren't paying what the NFL thought was enough money for Superbowl commercials so they just decided o cancel the super bowl?) Whatever money there is, large or small, should be *guaranteed* but once the deadline for the highest guaranteed bid is in that is it.

2) Legitimacy: Make the candidate matches long enough so that the winner is legitimately seen as the champ. Also don't decide by blitz and rapid games for crying out loud.

As far as how the candidates are picked I think there are a number of very reasonable ways to do this. I do think we already have enough high profile events/achievemnets so that we do not need to create new ones to get people in the cycle. In order to decide who goes to the mathces we can use ratings, ACP standings, continental championships (leave theat up to the national chess organizations of each continent). Also I think its important to remember that not everyone who qualifies needs to start in at the same level. There are "wildcard" teams in the NFL. They didn't prove themsleves during the "regular" season as much as the other teams so they have to do more "proving" in the playoffs.

The idea is we are going to try to give the title "world champ" to the best player. In that regard if someone rated 20ish in the world wants to prove he is the best he will have to do more "proving" during the cycle than someone who is rated 4th. Thus if you make it in because of winning your National championship you may still have to play and win a couple more matches than say Vishy Anand. I don't think this is unfair plus it will allow more people to participate without making it a lottery.

Finally by allowing geography to play some role we may attract different sponsors.

Joe McCarron
AKA niceforkinmove

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 11, 2005 1:52 PM.

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