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FIDE WCh in Argentina, Che!

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Today FIDE announced they have found a site and sponsor for the 2005 FIDE world championship tournament we were discussing here a few days ago. It's the Argentine province of San Luis, rural domain of one of the country's political dynasties, the scandal-ridden Saa family. (This is one thing that hasn't changed much since I lived in Buenos Aires from 1992-99.)

The announced prize fund is everyone's favorite big round number, one million dollars. The dates are Sep. 17 - Oct. 16. It's a double round-robin with eight players. There's no mention of players and deadlines for deciding the field. (See below for the full press release text.)

Note that the tournament regulations say "The four top players of the WCCT will automatically qualify for the knock out matches of the next cycle." If the abysmal knock-out format is still FIDE's idea of a world championship, I hope Kramnik stays away from San Luis. This was supposed to be a unification event (the only point of it, really), but it seems FIDE just wants to absorb Kramnik's classical title in order to destroy it. Maybe Vlady can play hors concours? Or maybe the matches referred to could also be candidates matches?

I've been to San Luis (pop. 180,000) a few times and it doesn't give up much to Brissago when it comes to pastoral charm. Chess is quite popular in Argentina, and this is close enough to the second city of Cordoba to attract some spectators and local media. Still, it's wacky not to have it in Buenos Aires, a true chess capital. I'll certainly try to get down there, especially if I can wrangle conditions. But of course this is FIDE, so we shouldn't get our hopes up (or buy plane tickets) until the first pawn is pushed.

PRESS RELEASE - 21 April 2005

The 2005 World Chess Championship to be held 27 September - 16 October in San Luis, Argentina under the aegis of the Province of San Luis

The World Chess Federation (FIDE: http://www.fide.com) is pleased to announce that the World Chess Championship Tournament 2005 will take place 27 September - 16 October in the city of San Luis, Argentina under the aegis of the Province of San Luis.

The ongoing bidding procedure concerning the World Championship 2005 has been resolved in favour of the Luis candidacy, whose negotiation team in Athens exercised the option provided in article 2.5.1 of the official regulations and offered on 15 April a prize fund of USD 1,000,000 (one million) for the event. The offer is backed by a financial guarantee and an agreement concerning further organizing details has been signed by Governor of San Luis, H.E. Dr Alberto Rodriguez Saa and the FIDE President H.E. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

FIDE is positive that the games will be held successfully in San Luis and this year's World Chess Championship will further establish the image of chess as a competitive and educational sport not only in Argentina but in whole geographical region of South America. Towards this aim, the attractive image and the positive reputation the province of San Luis are considered as valuable assistance to FIDE’s efforts.

The format of the tournament will be an 8-player double round robin. The total prize fund of USD 1,000,000 be distributed to the players according to the final standings, as described in the official regulations, with the World Champion receiving the valuable title and the amount of USD 300,000. Together with this event, the total funds raised by FIDE for the World Championships have well exceeded the figure of USD 3,000,000 (three million) the years 2004 and 2005.

The final list of the 8 world-class Grandmasters who shall contend this year for the ultimate title of World Champion will soon be announced, in accordance with the official regulations of the World Chess Championship Tournament 2005. All relevant information will also be available on FIDE's website at http://www.fide.com


Aparantly invites have been sent out to the players. Here is the Hindu report confirming receipt of inviation by Anand.


I don't think that necessarily means he received a personal invitation. The report could just be referring to the general announcement and the player list it contained. They'll need to post acceptance deadlines, or at least they should.

This doesn't even seem coherent to me.

If FIDE is thinking in the lines of a new type of World Championship with a cycle, why don't they say so explicitly? (considering how many people want this, they should be banging their chests and boasting).

Since their not, I believe their keeping their knockout tournament, which is also called world championship????


Dear Mig and friends,

I agree with you Mig, FIDE is kinda insane not to hold the WCC in the Argentine capital. The regulation statement that you mentioned is indeed anti-reunification. Like you and many fans out there, I'm definitely against the Knock-out system. If that's the kind of tournament format FIDE is going to adhere itself to, then I think the classical tradition of chess, whereby one plays against every worthy opponent with 2 hrs for first 40 moves and time additions later on will definitely be destroyed. Such a crappy Knock-out format is only going to favour blitz and rapid players, mostly younger players like Radjabov and Nakamura who play blitz on the internet all the time. As for Vlady, I agree with Mig that he better keep out of FIDE's clasp. I don't think the funds are really high enough compared to other big-time sports like soccer, golf and esp.tennis whereby the World Champions or No.1 seed or top soccer players get millions of dollars of pay each week or month. For a World Champion to receive not only half a million dollars is kind of belittling. Just imagine the amount of money Kasparov got from playing against the compurters, and such matches are not WCC. Besides, FIDE's current WC Kasim is quite a minnow as compared to the likes of Anand and Kramnik, so even if FIDE managed to get a new World Champion that's not World no.1 Anand this year, its title would mean nothing but trash. When the title no longer matters, the only possible way for FIDE to get the best 8 players to play head-on versus one another is to get more money (lots of it, probably Bill Gates or Donald Trump can give a little help) and a better site, not a little-known and rural place like San Luis. (Never heard of this place till Mig mentioned it) Anyway, I don't think that will ever happen so this stupid WCC will start as it is and most likely Kramnik and his good friend Anand will not attend since both seriously loathe the Knock-out system. If Kramnik wants to uphold the CLASSICAL tradition of chess as the classical World Champion, he really should keep out of it.

Kramnik may currently be the most prominent defender of the classical tradition in chess. Hence his consistent stand regarding these issues. Reunify? Yes! Reunify if it means unconditional surrender to FIDE? No!

Yes, when you have a thousand cans of red paint you usually prefer to paint things red. What else can Kramnik say or do? It's either say he's classical champion or he's nothing. As long as FIDE continues with frivolous events he'll be able to continue to do absolutely nothing and still be called a defender of something, as Kasparov was 97-2000.

That said, I hope negotiation is possible. It's not like FIDE has had an easy time of arranging the KO events. If a sponsored classical package can be presented, they'd jump at it.

Holding the tournament in Buenos Aires would make sense. This is reason enough for FIDE not to do it.

The problem is that the National Government (President Kirchner) is opposed to the government of San Luis province (Rodriguez Saa). Ths governor ran with former President Menem to win the last elections, they came first in the ballotage (24%) and Kirchner second with 22%, but Menem and Rodriguez Saa decided not to run in the second stage of the ballotage because they knew the whole opposition would vote against them (the predictions were 70-75% for Kirchner and 25-30% for Menem).
Since the dough is being paid up by San Luis province, don't even expect players to arrive via Buenos Aires airport (not even that favour for the national government and the government of teh city of Buenos Aires). It would be sensible (and politically important for Rodriguez Saa) for players to arrive via Santiago de Chile and cross the Andes to San Luis.

Mig, do you really believe that Kramnik's been doing absolutely nothing? Well, he did more then FIDE, I think. He waited patiently for the match with someone presented by FIDE (and fullfield his part of Prague). I agree that now is the time for Kramnik to do something (in cooperation with ACP I hope). Let's give him a few more months. We've waited several years already...

Well Kramnik should come up with a cycle, without a cycle he is doing nothing like Kasparov who did nothing from early 1996. (not from 1997 Mig)

[Jan 1996] Kasparov announces that the contract with Intel is finished. "I've had enough of being a slave to Intel for the benefit of the other players. I am going to play against Deep Blue in February in Philadelphia."


That has to be a mis-translation. I'm sure Kasparov actually said something like, "I greatly appreciate all that Intel has done for chess but I simply cannot decline the challenge of playing a match against the world's greatest chess computer."

If painting with red is good for chess, I say - paint with red. If he wants to start using green when he loses his title, I'll present my opinion.

So we learn from Mig the Argentine Province of San Luis is the "rural domain of one of the country's political dynasties, the scandal-ridden Saa family".

This reminds me of Texas, the rural domain of one of the political dynasties of the USA, the scandal-ridden BUSH family.

Political dynasties in Argentina are at least sponsoring chess...

Mig you should be more careful (or at a minimum more self critical) when you write about foreign countries. Especially when you owe so much of your chess education to that very country.



1997 was when the knock-outs started. My reference to Kasparov was not that he did nothing but that he became the de facto defender of the classical tradition when FIDE changed to the KO. Kasparov had several (failed) attempts after the collapse of the PCA.

Another of those annoying fact things: Intel had already decided, and told the PCA directors, that they were ceasing sponsorship before the Deep Blue match was announced.

Heh, "he waited patiently..." Well, you got me there! What Petrosian was over the board, Kramnik has been off the board. Playing Leko had nothing to do with Prague, although it could have fit into the framework. But Prague was already melting down and Kramnik had made it clear (of course not actually making it clear, just saying he couldn't see the point) that he wouldn't play the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov winner.

Why shouldn't I tell the truth, Eduardo? What does the Bush family have to do with Saa? If the tournament were in Texas sponsored by the Bush family maybe I'd mention it. I'm sure there are scandal-ridden families in many countries around the world that aren't hosting this tournament.


You could have mentionned a lot of nice things about Argentina and yet you chose to talk about scandal-ridden families in Argentina. That is of course why I brought the Bush famiily into the game. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.



Except maybe you noticed that this is about a chess tournament. A chess tournament being held in Argentina. In San Luis. Where the Saá family is in charge. This is called "relevance." You may as well reply about families in Uganda or Malaysia.

I did say nice things about Argentina. I love Argentina. That doesn't mean the Saá family doesn't have problems worth mentioning.

This is not about loving Argentina but how you construct an image of Argentina in the mind of your readers. When you write about chess tournaments in the USA I don´t see you making reference to scandal-ridden families there. This is the reason I urge you to be more careful when you write about foreign countries. Politeness Mig, that is the name of the game.




What is your proof - beside Kasparov's own word - that Intel ceased the sponsorship before the Deep Blue match? Garry made a lot of money with the side effect of destroying PCA. Now he is saying that PCA was destroyed by attacks from all sides.

What is your problem with Kramnik? Playing with the winner of Dortmund which happened to be Leko was part of Prague. It is not Kramnik's fault that FIDE could not arrange a match between Kasparov and Kasimdzhanov. Kramnik never said that he wont play he said 'FIDE has not fulfilled the Prague agreement so I can do whatever I think is the best but still I am ready to negotiate.' He held a cycle he played the winner of the cycle and then FIDE failed to sponsor a single match, Mig's approach: 'BLAME IT ON KRAMNIK'

Come on Mig, your friendship with Garry is influencing your judgement.

Heh, "besides Kasparov's own word." Nice.

What am I blaming on Kramnik? I blame FIDE for wrecking unification chances. I only point out that Kramnik has done nothing to organize a cycle.

Eduardo: No, politeness is not the name of the game. You must want "The Daily Sanitized Bare Minimum of Obvious Information Chess Blog" which is down the hall to the right. Pointing out that the sponsor of a FIDE chess event has a history of scandals is relevant. If you choose to take it as an attack on the entire country of Argentina you are over-sensitive and wrong. When Khaddafi sponsored the last KO I wasn't going to be silent then either. When is the last time a scandal-ridden family sponsored a chess tournament in the US? You seem to know about many cases of which I am ignorant.

Mig, what kind of scandals are we talking about? Can you give us a resumé?

I think there's almost zero probability of Kramnik agreeing to put his championship on the line in this tournament. Number one, the money's too low. Number two, he just put it on the line less than a year ago against Leko. Number three, if he's going to risk his title, he would want to do it the traditional way: in a long match (14-20 games), where he has the chance to grind down a single opponent.

I personally agree with the chessninja member who called this an insult to Kramnik. First Kramnik fulfills his part of Prague while FIDE doesn't, then FIDE completely ignores his call for dialogue, and then he graciously receives an "invitation" to put his title at stake under much worse conditions than originally intended. Nice diplomacy. We are probably further away from reunification now than before this.


Thank you for responding.

Well many think that Kasparov sold PCA and the players for the money coming from IBM. So obviously he denies the charges and says it was over before I played the match with Deep Blue. Here is what I got from chessbase.com:

[Seirawan says he never heard anything about Intel abandoning the PCA prior to the first Deep Blue match, and he is certainly not alone. The chain of announcements that are public knowledge give credence to the “traditional” story that Intel did not pull the plug until after the Deep Blue match. Seirawan recollects that the Intel representative at the 1995 Kasparov-Anand match was “all smiles” and committed to doing it again. Then, after the Deep Blue match was announced, rumors began that said Intel might withdraw, and this was only confirmed publicly after the Deep Blue match.][ http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=253 ]

Well I am with you on this issue, if Kramnik does not come up with a cycle then we can blame him but he managed to create the previous cycle and I think he will manage to create another one, just give him some time. Or you have sources that indicate he is doing nothing in order to create a decent cycle.

Yes, I wrote that article! :-)

There is no doubt that the conventional wisdom was that Intel bailed on the PCA when Kasparov played Deep Blue. But barring comments from Intel people (Intel Germany), we have assumptions versus Kasparov's statements about the phone call.

To my knowledge, having talked with two ACP board members (although not Kramnik), there is no current agenda for designing or seeking sponsorship for a cycle. The ACP, logically enough, doesn't consider it their responsibility. Their comment in the April ACP newsletter:

"The ACP board has noticed FIDE´s most recent proposition regarding the unification of the WC titles. We regret the fact that the ACP hasn’t been involved in the process, and do not find the current suggested solution optimal. It doesn’t answer the question on how to build a solid WC-structure for the future, in our opinion the most fundamental problem of the unification process."

The ACP's role, in a perfect would, would be to represent the interests of the players and serve as a counterbalance to the FIDE dictatorship. I don't expect them to organize or find sponsors directly. It would be nice if they used their membership to help design a cycle the players wills support. Then they can take that to FIDE and at least have something on the table. Of course FIDE could still ignore them, but at least they'd have that point to make and we could yell at them with more conviction. Right now they (ACP/Kramnik and FIDE) don't have anything concrete to talk about. They aren't going to get together for beers.

Give me a break Mig, this is not about sanitizing your blog or scandal-ridden families in Argentina, the USA or elsewhere. I happen to believe you can still have a informative and provocative blog without making derogatory references to foreign countries. The world is not black and white like a chessboard Mig, there are many shades of grey in the middle if you know what I mean. Good mannered people recognize that.

I didn't make any "derogatory references to foreign countries." Will you please read the item? I lived in Argentina for almost eight years and have traveled to much more of it than any Argentine I know. Great place, wonderful, miss it all the time. That's not relevant to the story.

I think it's great that there may be sponsorship for an interesting event. It's great that it's in Argentina. Saying that is banal. That Alberto Rodriguez Saa is directly involved in a chess event with FIDE is part of the story. That he and his family have a long history of investigations for enriquecimiento ilícito and other scandals is relevant. Pointing this out (and mildly) is not an attack on Argentina. You're the one seeing black and white here. I don't have to say "and other countries have corrupt officials too." Everyone knows this. The US has Tom DeLay, for example. If he sponsors a chess event please let me know!


Not often I agree with Mig, but you are taking offence where none was given or intended. The following extract shows Argentina in a favourable light.

"I've been to San Luis (pop. 180,000) a few times and it doesn't give up much to Brissago when it comes to pastoral charm. Chess is quite popular in Argentina, and this is close enough to the second city of Cordoba to attract some spectators and local media."

There is good and bad in all places and Mig shouldn't be blamed for being objective.

I've only he could extend that objectivity to issues involving Kasparov/Kramnik/Deep Blue etc....


Don't bother Eduardo...

It's just Mig's usual anti-FIDE paranoia: whoever sponsors FIDE championships is "corrupt" or "scandal-ridden"...

Obviously Mig doesn't care about the fact that FIDE is the only organization which is continuously bringing in money for the top players: 3 million dollars in less than two years have been raised by FIDE for its World Championships in 2004 and 2005 (Tripoli, Batumi/Elista and San Luis) and this is not small money Mig...

I appreciate your comments Giannis and Al. This is not the first time Mig makes a reference to corruption in a foreign country in his comments about the chess world. As if corruption were the defining characteristic of such countries. It is not. This is such a common sense view in certain circles but I think it is wrong. I am sick and tired of such views, hence my postings.

Changing subject if I had to blame somebody for the current mess in the world of chess that would be Mr Kasparov not FIDE or Mr Kramnik. I agree he was perhaps the best player ever. However he was also the wealthiest chess champ in history, which might explain his dominance over the board for such a long period of time (after all he could afford to have as many seconds as he wished but this is another story). Mr Kasparov has given chess lots but chess has repaid him dearly in fame and money. By retiring from chess without restoring order to the mess he created in the chess world he left a bad taste in the mouth of his admirers.

Yes, Kasparov rose to the top in 1985 because of his money. Very good. Yawn.

One person couldn't restore order. He tried, by participating in the Prague agreement and it was a total disaster. As Kasparov said himself, they will have a better chance of solving the mess without him.

Great, now I'm anti-FIDE and anti-Kramnik and the person I'm supposedly pro doesn't play chess. Golly, I guess I'll have to start a blind cheerleader blog. Yay for everybody! It's all great! Observers and commentators aren't essential to point out when things go right, guys. When they are right, they are right, that's the way they are supposed to be. It's when things go wrong that it's important to speak up.

I've said many positive things about the money Ilyumzhinov has brought for the players and paid out of his country's pocket. Go back and read my entries here about Tripoli. If you choose only to recall the negative things in order to criticize me, there's not much I can do. But if you want me to ignore a tournament sponsored by Khaddafi and excluding Israelis, you're out of luck. Rodriguez Saa certainly isn't in that category and I'm very supportive of this project. That doesn't mean his various conflicts and scandals aren't worth mentioning.

Okay, so what's right about this "world championship" tournament in Argentina from the perspective of things I consider important? Will it unify the title? Will it support the tradition of long matches for the world championship? Will it gain media attention for the game around the world and money for dozens, even hundreds, of players? (In case you're keeping score, that's "no, no, no, and no.") All of these players are relatively well off and well known. It's basically Linares. And if the point of this tournament is to unify the title, why not make sure you have Kramnik at the table before you start? Or at least have enough talks to where you can make a good case for irreconciliable differences.

Of course I'm happy to see a great tournament with a big prize fund. I like chess and I like chess players. Having it in my old home of Argentina is icing on the cake. But calling this a world championship does not aid the goals I would like to see achieved. I would be delighted if FIDE would keep the format but change the title to "world championship qualifier" and have the winner face Kramnik in a 20-game match next year. It still wouldn't be perfect, but it would have more of a point and the long-match tradition and the succession tradition could continue. But you have to have a sponsor for that match FIRST and plans for the next cycle FIRST or you are just setting up yet another disaster.

I like to think I can have a role in making a small difference in improving the situation for the long run. If you are happy with a permanent better than nothing situation, great. Enjoy. But unless you think the situation is perfect now, don't complain when others try to change it. I'd rather take what we have and try to improve it than kissing feet for crumbs.

Ilyumzhinov wants to destroy the classical title, period. We know this, he has said it. Long matches and succession are not part of his agenda. I disagree with this strongly. So I'm supposed to celebrate an event that goes against my views of what is good for the chess world? Post your own opinions. Disagree with me if you like, but don't tell me my opinions are irrational unless you can prove it.

They should go back to 40 moves in 2 1/2 hrs. It's good to have high quality games that can be analysed and debated in the papers on the off days of a championship match. It's no good if Fritz finds blunders in almost every game.

And we already have blitz and active chess for variety. Why take the slow game and speed it up only 30 percent or so? The quality takes a bit hit while at the same time it is still too slow for the spectators.

You wonder what Ilyumzhinov and his supporters are thinking. Apparently they think chess can grab some spectator action it didn't have before. They want to jazz it up, but they're just going to screw it up. The sports fans will stick with sports while the chess fans drift away.

Seriously, Mig, I don't know much about this Rodriguez Saa guy but I do think that you owe Eduardo and the rest of us a good and clear explanation on why his family is so scandal-ridden and so infamous. If you fail to do so, don't ever ask the rest of us to prove your biased opinions when yours seem to be rather irrational in its own right. Just tell Eduardo and the rest of us here why the Saa family is so notorious and I bet Eduardo and our friends here will apprehend. Besides, you don't really have to be so worked up and aggressive in your last post for it's indeed true as what Eduardo said that Kasparov is the most affluent and powerful World Champion. Remember, Garry retired as a millionaire and World no.1. We all know that you're on very good ties with Garry, but sometimes you've just got to be not so subjective and polemic in your remarks, it just makes you sound vicious to supporters of you and your felicitous blog like me. I know work is tough, so just chill out in a while.:-)

Eduardo, give it a rest old son. I'm sure you love Argentina, but Mig didnt insult Argentina. Its a relevant fact he mentioned, that's all.

Thanks, d, but I'm not Eduardo, unless Mig gives Eduardo here and me and the rest of us here a reason for why he said what he said, then I'm not giving this debate up, and neither will Eduardo. Eduardo has been bullied by Mig and that's that. I'm merely trying to assist him out of my conscience as anyone with a kind heart will do. :@
Mig, hope you're reading this and please make a good explanation of your opposition of the Saas.

Mig was absolutely right to mention the Saa family. Only two weeks before his bid was accepted by FIDE, it was announced that Governor Alberto Saa (incidentally a chessplayer) and his brother Adolfo (the former Governor of San Luis) were to be subject for an accelerated investigation into illegal enrichment. The corruption investigation into the Saa family has been going on for four years but the Argentinian parliament were apparently unhappy with the progress so far.
There were also demonstrations in San Luis last year, asking for Saa to resign and for the governemtn to take over the administration of San Luis. If that happens before September, the $1m sponsorship for the World Championship might vanish into thin air.

How ridiculous with an 8-player round robin. It's too many players and not enough rounds for a fair result. No way will the winner of this be able to call himself "undisputed" world champion. Somebody might just scrape it by half a point won by luck against a weaker player.

A quadruple round robin for 6 players would have been much better. Skip Adams and Morozevich who have no particular claim and no chance of winning anyway. That sort of thing would even have a historical claim, since this was the original plan for the 1948 tournament. 20 rounds instead of 14 shouldn't be a big problem.

jzy, mig will do as he pleases of course, but frankly i dont think he owes anybody any explanations. he just mentioned what apparently are some FACTS about the potential sponsors of a Chess match, like he does whenever there is something noteworthy to be mentioned. That is definitely MY last two cents on this anyway.. Argentina has been on my mind lately cos I saw a documentary on the rise and fall of one of history's most talented sportsmen, Diego Maradona, on a recent flight. Only reason I ventured into this.. I find it hard to believe that the comment that Mig made on the Saa family or whoever it is, can be construed as a criticism of Argentina, or colour the perceptions about Argentina of anybody reading it.

JZY, Eduardo, you can look it up yourselves. What's more, here's the link: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/Archivo/nota.asp?nota_id=693251

Or better, here's the summary: these guys are being accused of using their governmental positions to stuff their pockets in an illegal way. I don't see where Mig says he looked into the case and found them guilty. He just said they're scandal ridden. So was OJ Simpson though he was found not guilty. So was Lady Dee and Michael Jackson and Fernando de la Rúa. I really don't get it, why is it insulting to refer to something the newspapers in Argentina are reporting??? You're going to tell me La Nación (the newspaper the link leads to) also insults Argentina?

So why is it relevant, why should we care where the money comes from? Easy: the guys are under current investigation, and as Tassie Devil points out, the money might not be there after all. Besides, well, it doesn't speak very well of any sport to have its money come from dubious origins, right?

Eduardo, I strongly believe that you are right defending your country since you think Mig's reference was insinuating that everything in Argentina is corrupt. Please just explain how do you think that making a reference to a country's political dinasty who is scandal ridden is insulting a whole country. When I watched Michael Moore's Farenheit, I didn't think he was insulting the US...

JZY, I commend you on your kind heart, every day there are fewer in the world willing to stand up for someone who you seem to think can't defend himself (though he has proven the contrary on this thread). Maybe you want to call the Rodriguez Saás themselves and offer them your attorney services?


did you just insult the argentinian people, calling them all cocaine addicts?

please give a thorough explanation to as why you totally off topic mentioned Maradona!

apologies all around...

geuly, good one :-) Poor Mig, now I see what he has to deal with.. As for off topic, the doc was the reason I ventured a post..

Geez, Thanks guys, esp. d and Tal and Tassie Devil, now it seems to me that Alberto Rodriguez Saa is indeed quite a bad egg and Mig's quite politically correct to quip his family as 'scandal-ridden'. If the Saas are really corrupt, then it'll be humiliating for a chess contest to be held under their auspices. Last year, it's Khadaffi, the militant leader of Libya and an ardent terrorist-supporter who got a chance to organize the WC and this year it's another villainous character. I sometimes wonder why is it that FIDE always picks up such shady and untrustworthy fellows as organizers. I think we chess fans should just forget about reunification since I hope that the top-ranked players would realize that playing in tournaments sponsored by corrupt personalities would bring nothing but debasement to the sport. Chess would be better off having a clean image if FIDE stop hustling in controversial and roguish political characters as its main sponsors or organizers. Lastly, I hope Eduardo would realize this too that the Alberto Rodriguez Saa isn't someone any Argentinian should stand up to.

Well, as an in-the-flesh Argentine, I can tell you that the Saa family are some of the most corrupt individuals in the world. They've maintained their control using political intimidation. They've steered fat government contracts to their own family companies. They've done all the typical things corrupt politicians do, and they've done it for YEARS. Rememebr, Saa and Menem are from the same cut - Menem, who violated UN sanctions and sold weapons to Croatia in the 90s. Menem, who sold weapons to the government of Ecuador while Argentina was supposed to be the official peace negotiator for the civil war. The Saa family consists of the most vile humans in the world. They're greedheads whose only natural home should be a prison cells, with daily jaunts to the prison mine to perhaps pay back some of the wealth they stole from the citizens of Argentina.

I find it VERY troubling, but also completely in FIDE's character, that they're accepting money from the Saa family. FIDE has taken on the ethical character of its president, who see's no evil in money - it makes no difference how the money was raised.

And, this IS a risky gamble at best. The money may or may not be there at the end of the day.

My poor country has suffered at the ends of Menem and Saa and other such rats. They seem to hold more in common with hyenas then humans. They're vermin who should have been put to sleep a long time ago.

In case you have any doubts, it isn't Mig who has insulted Argentina, it is the collection of swine like the Saas and the Menems. I can't wait until the Federal Police break into their homes and seize the evidence of their actions. Mark my words, there will be some serious chickens-coming-home-to-roost action in the near future. And from then on, the name Saa will only be spoken in hushed voices lest it scare the children.

sz, who is now in a foul mood having been reminded of the serious injustice in the world were the Saa family feels empowered to host major international chess tournaments. His call for a sustainable economic model for professional chess now includes a strong commitment to ethical conduct.

That's the way, JZY, well said. I totally agree with what you just said.

Come to think about it, it's FIDE the one which is virtually doing everything in its hands to stop reunification. Why can't they do things right just for one time?

OK, I can understand concerns about "ethical conduct" from Argentinians who are politically opposed to the Saa family.

But what about sponsors who are selling tobacco? Wasn't a tobacco company (Dannemann) sponsoring the Kramnik-Leko match? How "ethical" is accepting money from such businesses and not from legitimate state authorities such as San Luis?

I begin to get an idea of the situation. The ethical moment isn't extremely worrying in itself. It's hard enough to get sponsorship today without having to find a flawless saint. What's more relevant is that the money may not be there tomorrow.

Dear Giannis, Dannemann, the sponsor for the Kramnik-Leko match, albeit being a tobacco company, is a well-renowned company across Europe with an age-old tradition for making quality cigars. The people running Dannemann are not corrupt and they don't take bribes, harm ordinary citizens and conduct illegal trade-offs like what Saa and the Menem had done. (as said by SZ) The officials running Dannemann are good and legitimate businessmen and not drug dealers. When Dannemann organized the match between Leko and Kramnik, they seriously wanted chess to gain more fans and the hope for reunification was in the air. However, when it comes to FIDE, by employing detestable characters like Khadaffi and Saa to hold chess tournaments and not well known individuals or coorporations would do nothing other than harm the healthy and intellectual image of chess. Dannemann promoted classical chess and promised it in both the sum of money provided as well as colourful advertisement. You could see that there's commitment. But as for rascals like Khadaffi and Saa, it looks like they'll not do anything constuctive for chess other than making lies and empty promises for successful chess carnivals as means to divert attention of the ordinary folks away from their evil political plots. For such vile personalities like Saa and Khadaffi, the WCC would mean nothing other than to serve as a political tool to diverge people's attention from the multitude of problematic political issue that they wrecked upon their own countries. Those guys, unlike the people running Dannemann, are hypocritical, they appear in the media seeming to have a great passion for chess, but actually in the shadows care absolutely nothing about promoting chess and neither will they bother about the welfare of their own people.

Just an hypothetical thought, completely off-topic to this thread.

The whole chess community, including myself, condemns Kasparov for breaking up with FIDE in 1993, starting the title split. In fact, he had said himself, publicly and many times, that it was a great mistake.

But have anybody wondered how things would be now, had he hypothetically NOT breaken up, and played the 1993 match against Short under the auspices of FIDE?

In retrospective, it seems to me that, either:

a) he would break up anyway a few years later, when the KOs started, to save the tradition of the classical title;


b) the classical title would be dead by now.

Just my hypothetical two cents.

Dear JZY, if you don't find anything wrong with these "fine businessmen" of Dannemann selling tobacco to make a buck, then I'm sorry but you have a very one-sided view of what is "ethical" and what is not.

And just to sum things up, in my humble opinion neither Qaddafi nor Saa are more corrupt than Bush junior, Tony Blair or Silvio Berlouskoni. But if these guys were ever going to sponsor chess, I would not deny their money as "dirty". Life is never black and white only.


Had he stayed with FIDE in 1993, Kasparov would have defended his championship as long as it was his CHALLENGERS who had to play through knock-out matches, play in a tournament from which Israelis were excluded, or what have you. Kasparov would have cheerfully defeated whatever challenger stumbled through the knockout process--until that process produced, let's say, a Kramnik in top form, maybe around 2000.

After losing that match, Kasparov would have replicated his post-2000 behavior: attempt to invalidate the world champion's status, demand a rematch, demand special seeding, and if he didn't get his way, retire.

greg it must be so wonderful to be able to read minds and know with such certainty how things will transpire.


We can only guess what would have happened if Kasparov hadn't left FIDE and FIDE had demanded a knock-out system. That's why they call it a hypothetical.

What's your guess?

Had Kasparov stayed in FIDE in 1993, and eventually lost the title, would he have replicated his post-2000 behavior, as Greg suggests? I have no idea, after all it is just hypothetical speculation, your guess is as good as mine. If the old system were still in place, I personally doubt it, but who knows.

“…as long as it was his CHALLENGERS who had to play through knock-out matches, play in a tournament from which Israelis were excluded, or what have you”. Exactly, going through a cycle structure to become the challenger. The same way Kasparov himself had to go in 1982-84, to be the challenger to Karpov. And the same way that you and I want anybody to go, to become a challenger to Kramnik (although Kramnik himself never went through it).

But the KO format was introduced by FIDE to produce a champion, not a challenger. Intentionally destroying the tradition on which you need to defeat your predecessor to become the champion.

So, had Kasparov still be in FIDE in 1997, and FIDE introduced the KO format to produce a champion (not a challenger) as was actually done, Kasparov would have to break up from FIDE anyway to save the tradition of the classical title. Or else the classical title would be dead by now. This much is certain, the rest is speculation over the speculation.

Greg, you may answer this post if you want, but my comment on this stops here. It was supposed to be just a quick joke, not a serious discussion. It is all hypothetical dreaming, anyway.

Eduardo, sorry for all the sadness caused by this discussion. No one has insulted your great country Argentina! Only Mig told us about the sponsor of this event. Can anyone expect any good from Kirsan?


I am not from Argentina and have never set foot there. I dont care about the Saa family or the Bush family for that matter. I had never heard of the Saa before Mig wrote his thing. If the Saas are corrupt as Ming implies they are I am sure the judiciary in Argentina will find them guilty. There is such a thing as due process of law and before that you cannot blame anybody guilty. By finding the Saa guilty before due process Mig is just pursuing his own agenda of defending Mr Kasparov no matter what. Furthermore I am upset by the fact that Mig is constanlty associating foreing countries with corruption in his chess comments. This is a shalow view of things and I think it is wrong. I felt obligued to counter his discourse that´s all.


"By finding the Saa guilty before due process Mig is just pursuing his own agenda of defending Mr Kasparov no matter what."

Will you please explain the logic of that one?

It ain't happening. Who cares about a bunch of primadonnas and ego maniacs?

Eduardo, thanks for the reply. I dont know how you are coming to this conclusion. In this case, its very clear that Mig is only talking about the Saa family. Its news. Yes, the law will take its own course. The Saa family has a history of scandals. Till then the courts acquit Saa, he will be seen with suspicion. This is a case of political family involved in scandals sponsoring FIDE tournament. What it has to do with Argentina? Yes this much is true that FIDE is associating Chess with scandal ridden people always. It really creates a bad image for Chess in the world. Somehow, Chess always attracted this kind of people.

I don't believe that "..Mig is constanlty associating foreing countries with corruption in his chess comments." as Eduardo feels. I believe that FIDE is the most corrupt under the leadership of Kirsan and anyone Kirsan is associating with outght to be corrupt if they get to sponsor a tourney with big moolah. Mig is only proving it with his comments...

While I am very interested in Argentinas politics I hate to see this topic moving away from the meaning of the tournament itself (regardless of its location). I think we can safely say that Kramnik will not play. I can't see him doing it "for the money" and otherwise he has nothing to gain. He believes his title is legit and he should only defend it in one on one matches (which give him much better chances than all play all events). So does this mean the FIDE tourney is worthless? Not at all...this tournament allows us to have a real FIDE "Classical" champion and an obvious canidate for Kramniks next challenger. Regardless of what you think about Kramnik, he has defended his title and clearly needs to do so again if the title is to mean anything. Any kind of cycle that Kramnik or ACP puts together is going to take at the very least a year before a championship match could even be scheduled. FIDEs match would give us a challenger and buy plenty of time for a cycle to be put together. This keeps us moving forward and doesn't paint anyone into a corner. It also breathes some fresh air into the worlds top players who have felt excluded from talk of the world title. Anyone who doesn't play in Argentina has only himself to blame. I would be enthralled by this tournament if everyone shows up and its exactly what the post Kasparov era of chess needs to generate excitement and sponsor attention. The pressure on Kramnik to play the winner would be overwhelming. Let him sit out the actual tourney...if you believe in the classical title, you have to recognize Kramnik as its holder and he has every right to defend only in matches. I hate to compliment FIDE, but this sounds like the best possible solution to finding a challenger, jump starting Super GM chess, and buying time to find a long term solution.

Let me be clear about my views:

1) Mig thinks the chess world is black and white, in other words Kasparov good Kramnik and FIDE bad; 2) To support his view of the chess world and his pro Kasparov stance (why? commercial interests perhaps?!) Mig is always trying to diminish Fide's attempts to restore order to the chaos Kasparov got us into; 3) Mig's favorite plot to support his agenda is to point out that the sponsors of Fide are corrupt; 4) This may or may not be true (it is up to the courts to decide) but is not relevant to the discussion; 5) What is relevant is that we need a fair system to determine the challenger to the World Chess Champion; 6) Kasparov has become the great player that he is because there was such a system when he was young which alllowed him to become World Chess Champion; 7) Kasparov has destroyed the fair system to determined the challenger that we used to have; 8) The new generation of young players (Nakamura, Karjakin etc etc) cannot have a go at the WC because of the above; 9) Chess has given Kasparov fame and money, he is the wealthiest chess champ in history; 10) Instead of trying to give something back to chess by helping restore order to the chaos he got us into Kasparov decides to retire from chess and get into politics; 11) Excuse me Mr Kasparov but I think you have left some unfinished business behind you and this is not how decent men or women should behave; 12) Although FIde and Kramnik may be partially blamed for the current situation Kasparov is by far the main responsible for all this mess; 13) In conclusion Mig instead of talking about corrupt families in Argentina you should be talking about Kasparov's responsibilites in all this and how we move from here.

By the way GM Svidler refers to Kasparov as the "big ego". That tells you something, doesn't it?!


Eduardo, you keep accusing me of things without any evidence. I'm getting tired of it. I've both praised and criticized FIDE many, many times, so your first comments are simply lies.

Tell me again how I profit from criticizing FIDE, or Rodriguez Saa? Or Kramnik? Or anyone? Is there a fund I should be inquiring about?

Are you saying FIDE is perfect and should never be criticized? Same with Kramnik?

Tell me what Kasparov's agenda is since he's retired. Kasparov isn't even relevant to this entire discussion, as long as you're talking about the future, which the rest of us are.

Kasparov definitely helped destroy the system in 1993. For the last few years he has tried to help restore it. It didn't work. IT DIDN'T WORK. He spent over two years waiting for a match with Ponomariov then Kasimdzhanov. It didn't happen.

Unless you have some brilliant suggestions for things Kasparov to do, please move on and find a new scapegoat now that Kasparov is out of picture. Kramnik is the classical champion. Kasimdzhanov is the FIDE champion. Ilyumzhinov is the president of FIDE. Kasparov is OUT OF THE PICTURE. He was part of the problem, the best thing he could do to fix the situation was leave. This is obvious after the past three years. Blaming him for 1993 is old, old news and only shows you have nothing constructive to say about the present. The Kasparov haters are so disappointed at being shown they have nothing useful to say that all they can do is beat a dead horse.

I'm talking about the FIDE tournament in Argentina. The reputation of the sponsor is very relevant. It's not relevant to YOU, so say so and live and let live. If it weren't relevant to me I wouldn't have mentioned it. It's certainly not all I'm talking about. It was a small mention in a long discussion. What are YOU talking about?

Yes, it tells us Svidler thinks Kasparov has a big ego. Wow, big news. I know him a lot better than Svidler and I also say he has a big ego. Wow.

Now start making suggestions about reality and the future instead of living in some ancient world where whining about Kasparov is considered useful.

Dear Eduardo and friends of the world,

I understand your sentiments. What you said about the lack of a fair system for candidates or challengers to be chosen for the World Champion makes the chess world a messy world. It all started when Kasparov organized the break-away PCA match with Nigel Short. Kasparov thought of FIDE to be too much influenced by Campomanes, a man he regard as depraved and untrustworthy.

Kasparov had his reasons for the break-away but I think he did that partly due to his arrogance and mainly due to his ambition to free chess from the monopolistic grasp of FIDE. If Kasparov did not set up a PCA in the first place, then everything MIGHT have had been as it was, just like in the past when FIDE was under Dr. Euwe when there was a rigid and well-founded system for selecting challengers aspiring to beat the World Champion.

However, you could not put all the blame on Kasparov. Just think, 12 long years had passed since 1993 and FIDE had not done anything constructive to rehabilitate the good old system, which I regard as fair to all chess players. We must not forget that it's the old system of the revered FIDE establishment under Dr.Euwe that we had our great modern champions, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov. By getting rid of the well-established system of zonal, interzonal and candidates tournaments and matches and replacing it with a silly KO system whereby rapid chess is preferred, FIDE betrayed the age-old tradition that quality chess ought to be played showly. Right now, FIDE still remains unremitting and uncompromising under Kirsan and that is why Kasparov retired since he realized long ago that he alone could not battle and alter the organization and the faults that he committed in the past could not be undone. Kasparov may be the villain for destroying the authority of FIDE in chess matters in the first place but all that happened a quite a long time ago and it is really FIDE and its current president's fault for not committing themselves to retaining the classical tradition of chess and doing nothing to revive or introduce a new system for all players aspiring to be World Champion.

In the chess world now, a legitimate champion does not exist. Kramnik might have beaten Kasparov but afterwards he has yet proved his dominance a World Champion must be capable of. Just imagine, he isn't first on the rating list but fifth. If he's the top-rated player and won more tournaments than both Anand and Kasparov, then he would be the undisputed World Champion. Even though Kasparov retired, his legacy lives on and many round the globe still regard him as the truthful World Champion and perhaps the only World Champion they recognize.

As for youngsters like Karjakin, Carlsen, Nakamura, Radjabov and the 16 year-old surprise winner of the 7th Dubai Open Wang Hao from China, their future would be imperiled if FIDE did not realize and remained dogmatic that the KO system was and shall be the best way for selecting a World Champion. If FIDE remains as vitiated and obstinate as it is today, then I seriously think that there's no point in getting a high place on the rating list since you cannot be a well-respected World Champion anyway (even if you become WC, there'll be always another one, maybe Kramnik in his 50s) and it's always going to be some lucky guy lower than you becoming the World Champion under the crappy KO format. The five kids I mentioned above are immensely talented but I fear that their powerful potential would not be valued by FIDE and that their excellent chess skills would only be exploited for commercial means--generating revenue for big coorporations caring nothing about chess that just organize chess tournaments to advertise themselves.

In conclusion, I don't think the chess world aside from the Top 10 or Top 5 who gains a lot of sponsorship already has any hope.

My Advice for budding chess masters:

1.If you cannot get into the Top 10, quit chess
because you'll never going to find enough money
to get yourself a decent living.

2.Supporting a family (if you're lucky enough to
find a girlfriend!) based on chess alone or
even becoming World Champion can only be dreams
that can never be attained.

These are the hard facts of being a chess professional in a industrial and commercialized world in which chess is fighting with other big-time sports like soccer, golf and tennis for constant attention. It's far better in reality to become a tennis player or soccer player than a chess professional. That's because you at least appear on TV and have girls chasing after you if you became some hot shot in your youth. In chess, no matter how well you play, as long as there's no extensive mass media coverage, no sponsorship, no money whatsoever, you can never become famous even if you're World Champion, (Think, just how many ordinary souls on the streets know who's Kramnik, Anand or even Kasparov?? None of my close friends know them!) nor can you dream of a luxurious bangalow or driving Ferraris like the life that Beckham's living.

Fortunately, what I mentioned may be refuted in a few years (or maybe decades? Oh dear!) when a new FIDE can be born. Right now, there's really nothing to be done with such a conceited and disinterested administration in power at FIDE. Kasparov is at fault but FIDE's committed a greater felony by not caring for the welfare of its players since the PCA break-away. [That's how the ACP headed by Kramnik and Lautier was established due to FIDE's ignorance of the social welfare of its players]




When you state Mig only sees the world black and white, and state that Mig only sees Kasparow as good, your guilty of looking at it only black and white. (yes Mig favors Kasparov more than not, but facts will show grey areas).

Due process is a good thing, but if it's the only answer, your looking at it black and white. This argument could validate Khadaffis sponsorship...

When the corruption allegations means that the money could be gone before the championship, also allegations are relevant, you again look at it black and white.


The blogmaster tends to look kindly on Kasparov and less so on FIDE, Kramnik, and several others. And while he does tend to juxtapose facts in unusual ways to make his points, his saving grace (besides that of providing this forum) is that the vast majority of what he says is factually true. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to enlighten him in areas in which you think he's mistaken. If Argentinian politics is your area of expertise, a spirited defense of the Saa brothers would be a good start. On this topic I noticed online that one of the brothers dresses neatly, enjoys playing bridge, and is reputed to do an outstanding job managing his region's economic policy.

JZY, the WC does not have to win every tournament. As Kramnik rightly said, the WC is the one who wins the WC match.

I believe that not every Master dreams about the life you described above. Chess like other arts has never attracted any one with those dreams. It simply does not owe any one anything. You play for the love of it. The joy it gives to her true lover itself is the reward and it surpasses those materialistic happiness.

Kasparov made mistakes but they pale when compared to FIDE. What more could they do to hurt chess that they haven't already tried? Face it FIDE is the Anti-Cassia.

The issue of corruption--- if a reader is so ignorant that all they know about Argentina is the one or two sentences that Mig tells them and they take his statements about one province or one family and generalize it then it is doubtful that their opinion matters too much anyway. So, get off Mig's back everyone. I also think this tournament is pointless and misguided. Why can't they just have an 8 player elimination match tournament lke in the NBA to determine a challenger. 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7, 3 plays 6 and 4 plays 5. The "western conference" would be Kramnik and the "Eastern Conference" champ would play Vlad sometime in '06. It makes perfect sense to me.

I agree, DP, that would be common sense, but as we know, Kirsan's sense
is very uncommon.

Browsing FIDE's document I couldn't find the words "Unification" or
"Unified", etc referring to the title or the winner/"Champion"

There are no references to Kramnik's title either.

As it stands, this tournament is a refurbished replacement of the annual
(2005) FIDE world KO Tourn. Nothing more. FIDE's move is to ignore
Kramnik and walk alone.

As there are not matches between the players to decide the winner,
Kramnik's title is not even challenged in the sense of this FIDE
title "being equivalent" to it.

In fact, Kramnik can play in this tournament, finish last in the table,
and still be the World Classical -match, -match-based, "legit"--Champion.

If playing, I can't see why he should be stripped of his Title if not winning
this year's (or next, or next-to-next) Linares-like version of the
FIDE "world" title: it is not in the line and not being challenged at all.

Or is that what FIDE want us to believe?

Chess is a sport. If you can play it, and it's competitive, then by golly it's a sport!

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 21, 2005 6:08 AM.

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