Mig 
Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Dreams of Argentina

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The Argentine papers are following up on the announcement that the FIDE world championship will be held there. A few mention that the event is a "life-long dream" of San Luis governor Alberto Rodriguez Saa. (Not to be confused with his brother, Adolfo, who was President for a week during the turmoil of 2001.) This Clarin report says he is a long-time fan of the game and that he brought IM Jaime Emma to San Luis. (If Emma's name rings a bell it might be for the famous double-blunder game against Stein in Mar del Plata, 1966.)

Clarin also states that Polgar will play since Kasparov will not. According to FIDE's stated formula, this isn't the case; it would be Svidler (2731 average of July 04 and Jan. 05 lists over Polgar's 2728). If Kramnik doesn't play they would both get in. La Nacion mentions Ivanchuk, so they are probably looking at the current (April) list, which is irrelevant according to FIDE. It's an anti-Svidler conspiracy!

Also notable is that Argentine GM Miguel Quinteros was at the Saturday press conference with Rodriguez Saa and various cabinet members. Quinteros was a buddy of mine in Buenos Aires, and he was the main organizer behind Kasparov's three visits to Argentina. His record of involvement in organizing big events has been spotty. Fischer's 1996 visit ended in catastrophe, then there was the Ponomariov-Kasparov match that never happened. I'll get some details in coming days.

Ah, just as I was posting this Clarin has the first piece of actual reporting on the event and the deal. Much of the report is spent wondering if the event will actually happen. Quinteros represented FIDE in the negotiations. The article delves briefly into his recent failed attempts at organizing and the (successful) Kasparov visits. The financial guarantees ($200,000) have been signed, according to several reports (all quoting the same sources). That's certainly news.

Sosa, the local council president, is against San Luis hosting the event, saying the money should go to schools and "the other problems facing the province." Rodriguez Saa said they will sell tickets and use the event to promote tourism. Sosa replied that a recent local tournament attracted only 34 players and that there are only 25 first category (expert) players in the province.

Nicolas Barrera, president of the Argentine Chess Federation, said the event has the support of the national sports ministry and, somewhat surprisingly, the office of the President. (Rodriguez Saa is generally considered to be at odds with Argentine president Nestor Kirchner.)

Apparently another site considered was Linares, but they wouldn't change the dates of the annual supertournament. Many of the reports are full of errors big and small. Most are name and date mistakes (listing Kasparov as Azerbaijan), but this one makes the sensational statement that FIDE will try and get Kasparov (?!) to play the winner to "unify the crown." Which crown would that be? (Don't get excited, it's obviously just an error.)

I'm excited about the event, it's just hard to stop from wondering and wishing about what it will and will not be. If Kramnik doesn't play the schism is perpetuated. In these early days it's worth trying to see if FIDE and Kramnik can get to the table. Once it's clear one or both aren't interested, we can just enjoy the chess and the tournament like we would any other.

39 Comments

MIg

What do you mean by "If FIDE and Kramnik can get to the table" Are they negotiating? Unless FIDE makes another offer Kramnik will not play there thats for sure.

Something irrelevant, may I ask you what the elite GMs think about time controls? Do they prefer the FIDE time control, the standard time control or some even longer time control (I am not sure but I recall a tournament in which the time control was 3 hours for the first 50 moves, I do not know what they call it or what are the controls after move 50)

They are not negotiating to my knowledge. I would like them to. But at this point I don't even know what they would have to say to each other, sadly. FIDE will say, "we're making peace and offering Kramnik a chance to play in this unification tournament." He'll say, "I'm the classical champion, why should I enter at the same level as everyone else?"

If FIDE were going to hold a proper cycle and then a long match for the title I would want Kramnik to play. If it were a qualifier for a long match with Kramnik, great. But if, as it seems, FIDE would just hold another KO and eliminate all traces of the classical championship, he should stay away, or at least play hors concours. But the key is they should be clarifying all of this instead of leaving us to wonder and argue in the dark. I'm trying to find out.

Every poll I've ever seen shows an overwhelming GM preference for the classical time control vs the FIDE semi-rapid. The ACP membership had a large majority as well.

Interesting.
"Much of the [Clarin] report is spent wondering if the event will actually happen."
Judging from the summary that Mig has reported (thank you; this is the first substantive reporting I've seen), I do not believe that this tournament will take place.

Mig, don't you talk to Kramnik? Maybe you can call him and ask him what he thinks about this? Or maybe get someone to do it?

For the sake of unifying, I wouldn't matter that this Argentinian tournament turned into a sort of Dortmund where everyone played, under classical time controls, to become the challenger for Kramnik's title.

If FIDE thinks this downgrades their title (man, that would be stupid, but let them have it their way), make Kramnik play Kazimdzanov and the winner plays the qualifier's winner. Or something like that, anything that would make them reach an agreement. I believe playing a match with Kaz wouldn't be very intimidating to Kramnik, and then defending it against the challenger would be an incredibly marketable event, which should turn his title into a 100% unified, legitimate and marketable one (providing he keeps it).

Ok, ok, it's not gonna happen, but let me have my Praguish dream...

Kramnik's "people" say he is "preparing a statement."

Another statement, great. We can't have enough statements!

Kramnik's statement is just what we need. We need to know what he plans to do with his title.

After all this time, why isn't is obvious to everyone that the only way forward is to get rid of the FIDE clowns and start again properly.

A candid Ilyumzhinov might say:

My goal has been to remedy the three main obstructions to the popularization of grandmaster chess: 1) the games are too long, 2) there are too many draws and 3) there is no undisputed world champion.

The solution to the problem of over-long games was the semi-rapid time control. The faster time control tended to solve the "too many draws" problem as well, producing more errors and blunders and thus a greater number of decisive results.

The problem of no undisputed world champion has been harder to resolve. The rigorous classical championship format, culminating in a 24-game match between champion and challenger, produced every two or three years an undisputed world champion. But Kasparov's success through four such matches was such an overwhelming confirmation of his supremacy that he was able to walk away from the FIDE cycle and carry his legitimacy with him. His matches with Short, Anand, and Kramik were commonly thought to be contests for the title of "world's best player," stripping the FIDE championship of that important distinction.

To avoid a repetition of this catastrophe, we at FIDE instituted the annual mini-match knockout format. The predominance of chance elements in this format renders it problematic that the world's best player will become champion once, let alone for so many consecutive years that he could walk away from FIDE carrying his legitimacy with him. In sum, to prevent a dominant player from winning repeated FIDE world championships and then hijacking the title, it became necessary to "water down" the world championship.

It soon became evident, however, that the chess world was not buying our "watered down" champions while the "classical" world champion and the world's best tournament player stood apart. The Prague agreement was our failed attempt to wrap Kramnik and Kasparov's supremacy claims into the FIDE structure without abandoning our ultimate plan of watering down the world championship to ensure our continuing dominance of that title.

We're walking a fine line, creating a world championship rigorous and legitimate enough to command the world's respect, but not so rigorous and legitimate that a great player would be likely to win numerous consecutive titles and then possibly hijack the championship.

To try to recapture the world's respect in our Argentina 2005 world championship, we'll abandon semi-rapid time controls and the mini-match knockout format. And by inviting only our current world champion and a handful of elite players we'll mainly avoid the embarrassment of a low-rated player winning our championship. But a rigorous event such as a six-person quadruple round robin would confer a dangerous legitimacy; empowering a player who won such an event several years in a row to possibly hijack the world championship title. And a six-person quad round robin would be the perfect vehicle to lure Kasparov back into competitive chess where he'd be an instant candidate to obstruct our plans for the title or to again hijack that title.

If we ignore Kramnik he may just go away. (We appreciate Kasparov's efforts to invalidate the classical world champion's title.) If Kramnik does get active we're confident we can work out a unified title under FIDE; legitimate enough to gain respect, but not so rigorous and legitimate as to allow it to repeatedly won and then hijacked by a dominant player.

Kramnik's people say he is preparing a statement.

Kramnik's "people" say he is "preparing a statement."

Awfully sinister-looking quotation marks.

The first were scare quotes, the second was an earnest verbatim quote. I was just being sarcastic about the pretentious term "people."

One problem is that FIDE as an organisation probably has a bureaucratic interest in a weak world champion without the privileges that have traditionally been associated with the title.
Hence the obvious "lack of enthusiasm" for the unification process and that inimitable "negotiating" style of issuing unilateral ultimatums (I think even John Bolton would be impressed...).

Hesam, You might be thinking about the the old time limit: 40 moves in two and a half hours, adjournment after five hours' play, and 16 moves per hour thereafter. This was the standard time used thru most of the last half of the 20th Century.

I don't see any chance of making this a qualifying tournament to play with Kramnik.
First there is no money to conduct another tournament.Second, Anand and may be few more,will not participate if this tournament turns out to be just a qualifying match.Above all Krsan is not a guy who will negotiate either with Kramnik or ACP or for that matter with anybody.Unfortunately, despite all the loud talk about the marketability of so and so players, it is Kirsan who is constantly generating money.
I believe even Leko will play along with all others ,except offcourse Kramnik and Kasparov.And they should.Afterall it is difficult to forget what has been happening since Prague.

A really candid Ilyumzhinov might say

"I've got some problems at home, what with Kalmykia being bankrupt and the Russian government asking questions about what happened to all the money they sent our way, although luckily Putin seems to have bigger fish to fry at the moment. Anyway, the prestige that attaches to the leader of world chess may still offer a bit of much needed protection.

I used to be able to cement this by throwing money around, but with the UN's oil-for-weapons scam put to bed that isn't so easy any more. Of course I shall continue to brutalise the Kalmyk people, but you can't get blood from a stone.

So my best chance is to float grandiose ideas, and make sure it looks like somebody else's fault when they collapse. Fortunately I have able lieutenants who are experienced at that sort of thing. As to the business with the time controls, I leave that to them because contrary to my propaganda I've never played much chess and I'm not really very interested in it. Still, most of the top players seem to dislike the FIDE time control and we've managed to make them play it anyway, so they've obviously worked out who's the boss. That's good.

It would be a real nuisance if some other body, for instance the ACP. were able to put together a really good alternative. If they could offer a big sponsor an "Undisputed World Championship" they might be able to, but they can't do that because I'll always be in a position to dispute it. Kasparov was the only one who could have given them the credibility to barge me out of the way, but we managed keep him on the end of a string until he gave up - and he thinks he's going to be a politician, what a joke!

Where do we go from here? Nowhere suits me, and since there will always be people saying that I must be included in any grand plan I think I can make that happen."

Kramnik will never put his title on the line in an 8 player tournament.
He might play the winner of such an 8 player tournament.

But we're still going from one random event to another.

A proper cycle needs to be (re)established.

This would also help attracting corporate sponsorship. Big corporations don't spend thousands or millions on a whim, they have budgets that are fixed a year in advance, if not more. (They'd still have to overcome being associated with Ilyumzhinov though.)


ps: I agree with nick faulks completely, unfortunately.

Can't wait for Kramnik's "statement": will he paint Black or White?


Never mind.

Let the BEST players play for the official World Title.

Let Kramnik chicken out. Next year we'll all have forgotten about Kramnik.

Sorry. He is nowhere near being a Kasparov. He won't be able to keep the title hostage and be taken seriously.

Where is he now in the world ranking?

What am I missing? Has anyone even been invited to play for an official World Title? Is there a title event out of which Kramnik can chicken? Please elucidate.

Super-GM tourneys are always a good thing, WC implications or not. Even if K & K don't show, if they can get the remaining 8 of the top 10, it will still make a great competition.


Kramnik became world champion by beating Kasparov in a match (for which he didn't qualify in the strict sense of the word) in 2000 and barely held onto it in a drawn match against Leko last year. Perhaps he feels that the title is His for time indefinite, but he just fails to stand out as much as Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov in their days to be credible.

I don't see how he would be a more legitimate world champion than the winner of San Luis 2005 - if it happens. And if the World Number One wins San Luis 2005, the public will forget about Kramnik.

It would be good if the World Title could become possession of a world federation (if not FIDE, then who?) rather than of the champion himself.

Kramnik will dodge any serious challenges to His title. We'll have him as our world champion for a long, long time.

Who does he think he is? By far the World Number One maybe?

"Kramnik will dodge any serious challenges to his title". On what evidence? He defended his title last year, and whatever you think of the match it looked like a serious challenge to me. One defence every three years used to be considered enough, so if the world can organise another serious challenger by 2007 we should be satisfied.

Personally I should prefer 2006, on the grounds that the 2004 match should really have happened in 2003, so we would be catching up. Then there could be no possible complaints.

I really hope that Kramnik can play this year no matter what. If he wins, his title will definitely be secure and he'll be well-respected. He can't just avoid playing with the other top-ranked players for too long or otherwise he risked the danger of a lack of practice and further slipping in the world rankings. Gosh, as a great admirer of him, I really don't wish to see that happen. Just imagine, if Kramnik don't show up at this WCC and somehow Anand won in a style as convincing as the way he won this year's Melody Amber and passed the 2800 mark for his high performance, where's Vlady going to put himself? Probably Kramnik and Anand won't be the good friends they are now. :(

Kasparov has a great opportunity to play the gambit of his life: announce that he would play in Argentina to restore order to the chess world if (a big if indeed) Kramnik played.

That would put Kramnik under a lot of public pressure to play and I wonder what he would do if that were to happen. What do you guys think?!

Kasparov's participation wouldn't restore order to anything, with or without Kramnik. He doesn't hold a title and as retired from professional chess.

Kramnik does not acknowledge any such pressure. If anything, Kasparov's presence would make him less likely to play since Kramnik has specifically stated he shouldn't be playing from the same stage as Kasparov. (Obviously that goes for everyone else, too.)

The title, if unified, needs to be modernized over it's 1993 incarnation. Things are faster paced and there are more top players now than when Kasparov and Karpov were bashing heads endlessly. A streamlined system with a match every two years (odd years, staggered with the Olympiad?) perhaps. I don't think you can turn back the clock. You have to meet the modernizers halfway. But so far Ilyumzhinov has been all or nothing when it comes to the classical title. That is, nothing.

That's not entirely true, actually. When he thought he could make a buck with Kasparov and Prague, he acceded to demands for long (relatively) matches. Now it's back to business, or lack thereof, as usual.

Mig

Do you know when Kramnik will make his statement? Or even better what he will say?

No clue, it was a completely perfunctory reply that may have been meaningless. If I rant a bit at ChessBase.com it will probably produce something. Seems to work that way.

Kramnik's comment will be:

World Champion Kramnik is unhappy at the proposed FIDE solution to unify the World Chess Champion title. He would like to take part but is not sure whether GM Kasparov would take part. If Kasparov can guarantee that he has retired and will definately not take part, then Kramnik will be happy to participate. If there is a possibility that Kasparov takes part, then this tournament is not acceptable as the World Champion should take part with the other GMS.

Vladimir Chicken Kramnik

Maybe if we rant a bit we can get from the blogmaster or Chessbase a hard-hitting report re allegations that the U.S. Champion screamed at a lady Scholastics chess organizer in Nashville, reducing her to tears.

Mig

It is strange but ACP calls the Aregentina FIDE World Championship tournament "A new hope". What is the meaning of this?

Hesam,

I believe the "A new hope" comment is a reference to the original Star Wars movie, which was titled "Episode IV: A New Hope." Obviously the ACP views themselves as the rebel forces, fighting against the "evil empire" of the FIDE. I'm not sure I agree with their analogy, but if it gives them the motivation to fight on then more power to them.

I don't think ACP views FIDE as an evil empire. Basically they want to cooperate with them, not fight them. Of course FIDE's categorical refusal to talk makes things harder ..

JZY:

If Kramnik were to play and win, he would not have secured his title, quite the opposite! He will more or less have accepted that the title will belong to FIDE, and that he has no better chance the next time. (whether the nest championship will be something similar, a knock-out, or decided by coin-flipping)

I'm not sure I understand this. Sorry I haven't been keeping up.

Is vietnam off?

What is this talk of four people from this will qualify for a future knock out tournamnent??? Does anyone know?

Does anyone have any idea what FIDE's vision of how the WC should be handled in the future is? Kirsan had previously said he wanted double the number in the KO system.

Also, I would love to know what the USCF Administration thinks of this current FIDE administration and what they are doing to get rid of them! don Schultz appearently went to the chess olympics with some sort of motion has there been any action since then?

Before knocking FIDE for scheduling mess, remind me if the US Championship regulations have been published yet by AF4C.
In Foxwoods Bill Goichberg collected the entries for qualification, and then apparently had no idea how many spots were alotted. I believe he erred on the side of caution - gave only 4 - that way we'll need 9 more tournaments of Foxwoods' caliber to produce enough qualifiers before the end of the year.
More questons. How many get there by rating? Which supplement to take?
Just to counterbalance the usual Asian-despot bashing which flourishes here, has AF4C merged with Enron?

This is the better forum for the post. Good for Kramnik- that is the most reasonable line of action to take.

World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik
Official Statement
After defending the title of Classical World Chess Champion a few months ago against Peter Leko, I consider it important now to state my position regarding the current discussion about the World Chess Championship.

First of all, I would like to make it clear that I will not participate in the FIDE Championship, which is planned to take place this Fall in Argentina.

In the agreement that was signed in Prague by, among others, FIDE and myself, it was clearly stated that the Classical World Champion, eventually determined by my final match with Peter Leko, was qualified to play a unification match against the winner of the final match for the FIDE World Championship.

I fail to see any reason why the cancellation of the final FIDE match should influence my position on the agreed unification process. It is therefore incomprehensible that FIDE included me in the list of possible participants a decision clearly in conflict with our existing agreement. Just for the record: FIDE did not even inform me before doing so.

Nevertheless, I am still ready to complete the unification process in the spirit of the Prague agreement. Therefore, the organization of a match between the winner of the FIDE event in Argentina and myself could be a solution to break the deadlock. I want to make it clear that I would be ready to participate in such a unification match.

In the event that FIDE will not demonstrate any willingness to follow the agreed process of unification, I will start discussing proposals with interested partners, in order to defend my title in accordance with the classical line of the World Chess Championship.

Vladimir Kramnik
World Chess Champion
www.kramnik.com
April 28th, 2005

The news about Kramnik is disappointing, but my overwhelming feeling reading his statement was relief! Finally, we have a statement in which somebody takes a well-thought-out stand, justified with reasonable arguments, plausibly in line with his own interests, and with a suggestion for a possible compromise. I'm not sure I agree with it, but after all the weirdness from FIDE, just having somebody make sense is a welcome break.

Excuse me, wasn't Kramnik the first one who said that "the Prague Agreement is dead"? Someone must tell Kramnik that he's rediculing himself.

I see no reason why FIDE should negotiate with anyone who wants extra privileges compared with the other top players. If Kramnik believes he is the best then he must go to Argentina and prove it. All the other bla-bla is just another way of chickening out.

Prague is dead, but why not try to keep its spirit alive as long as possible? Kramnik is giving FIDE one last chance. If they keep doing what they are doing, it's probably finito and we should stop thinking about reunification for the time being.

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