Mig 
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Anand Confirms

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As Sri posted in the message boards, Vishy Anand has confirmed to FIDE his participation in the San Luis world championship. A brief interview with him is here. I first met Anand in 1994 at the Polugaevsky Sicilian Thematic in Buenos Aires. (Spectacularly called the "Polugaevsky Memorial" by my friend Javier Erbe in the Buenos Aires Herald despite Polu's quite corporal presence at the tournament.)

The only way this tournament solves anything without Kramnik participating is if it provides the winner with credibility enough to marginalize Kramnik. I don't think it does. But the winner of a serious cycle, such as the one planned by FIDE, would, especially if Kramnik can't get anything going on his side. Does popular opinion matter? What would it take for FIDE to offer the winner a match with Kramnik?

You have one group saying FIDE and its title are irrelevant and another group saying Kramnik and his title are irrelevant. My impression is that there is a larger group in the middle, where I am, saying they are all relevant and should get together, and that the chess world would be a better place if this happened, assuming FIDE's bout of sanity continued.

36 Comments

Mig

No news from other participants?

With Vishy in place, I expect the rest will follow (?)

I'm mainly worried about FIDE once again igniting hope in my mind, just to continue doing what they usually do...

I know at least two others have confirmed, but that was from them and not for announcement until May 13. People are touchy about things involving FIDE, unsurprisingly.

thx Mig,

Is there any reason someone would decline I mean there is good money and there is a title. Has FIDE sent invitations to all players?

I always thought Anand would not pass an opportunity to be called a world champion. After all, he stuck to FIDE and declined to challenge Kasparov in preference of FIDE. If FIDE is putting up a sane cycle, there is no way on earth he is going to deny. Money is also there, apparently.

He, I'm sure would agree to this tournament as a qualifier to meet Kramnik for unified world championship. All others will agree, as well.

If only FIDE agrees for Kramnik Vs Argentina Winner for unified world championship and then conduct the cycle for 2007.....

Anand's acceptance isn't a surprise. With a $1 million purse on the line, why wouldn't he?

Srikanth,

If FIDE accepts that the Argentine tournament winner will play Kramnik, then Anand will drop out of the tournament.

Duncan

"If FIDE accepts that the Argentine tournament winner will play Kramnik, then Anand will drop out of the tournament."

Why?

WCC not important.
Anand et al to play more STC games: Good for all.
Monotremes oviparous.
Ovum meroblastic.
r

During interviews explaining why he would not be playing in Libya in 2004, Anand explained that when he won in 2000 he "played for the only title available"

And another interesting comment on formats from before Mainz 2004:

http://www.chess.gr/tourn/2004/mainz04/Anand_Interview.html

Duncan

How did you got your information about Anand?

Well, it's good somebody is playing, but, honestly, participation of at least a few of the original invitees was to be expected. This is not a step.

"If FIDE accepts that the Argentine tournament winner will play Kramnik, then Anand will drop out of the tournament."

Duncan,

I don't think so. At least, the stated stand of Anand for not playing in FIDE KO is that it chooses the challenger for Kasparov and not the WC. If Argentina (is it final?) champion meets the Classical WC for an undisputed title (with a good purse) why should Anand deny himself an opportunity? I don't see any logic.

"At least, the stated stand of Anand for not playing in FIDE KO is that it chooses the challenger for Kasparov and not the WC."

There were other problems with Libya, including an unimpressive winner's purse, the "one blunder and you're done" format, and the fact that many GMs objected to Libya as a site.

"Well, it's good somebody is playing, but, honestly, participation of at least a few of the original invitees was to be expected. This is not a step."

Yeah, but Anand was always the linchpin. We all knew Kramnik wouldn't play, and Kasparav had already announced his retirement. With those two gone, Anand's the key guy, as his presence confers instant credibility. With Anand in the mix, I suspect that nearly all of the others will accept, unless they have an unavoidable conflict with the dates.

Anand explained why he didn't play in Tripoli and it was clearly a protest against the preferential treatment of Kasparov:

"Well, basically I disagreed with the idea that Kasparov was seeded to the final and just decided it wasnít worth playing, that it was no longer a real world championship and there was no reason to play."

"But I simply could not take part in the event. In principle once you take part you accept that Kasparov is rightly seeded above you and that you donít have a problem with that. Obviously the organisers committed a lot of other mistakes, especially with regard to the Israeli players, but well before I knew whether the Israelis would be allowed to play, or even thought of that aspect yet, I had already made my decision."

http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=1774

Kramnik and Kasparov figuring to be no-shows, how did FIDE choose its 8-person San Luis field?
The top five players were set in stone, either because of their recent WC contender status or their consistenly high ratings over the past year:
Kasim
Adams
Leko
Anand
Topalov

The remaining three players were to be determined on the basis of their ratings.

In the past year, FIDE published four rating lists:
7/04
10/04
1/05
4/05

And there are six different ways to combine these lists:
7/04+10/04
7/04+1/05
7/04+4/05
10/4+1/05
10/04+4/05
1/05+4/05

FIDE could have used any of these (four + six) ten "lists" to select the remaining three San Luis participants. Why did FIDE select the 7/04 and 1/05 rating lists?

Moro dropped like a rock in the 4/05 rating list. So if FIDE wanted Moro in San Luis, it couldn't use the 4/05 list by itself. (In every other list and combination of lists, Moro qualifies.) Moro's the sixth man on the list.

If you use any other list or combination of lists, (except the combination 7/04+4/05), Svidler qualifies. Svidler's the seventh man on the list.

What, then, would FIDE do with Polgar, who was inactive much of the year and who was dropped off the 1/05 rating list? If FIDE chose any list or combination not including the 1/05 list, Polgar would be the eighth player at San Luis. FIDE chose to make use of the 1/05 rating list; dropping Polgar out.

1/05 list: Moro, Svidler, and Bacrot.
1/05+4/05: Moro, Svidler, and Ivanchuk
1/05+10/04:Moro, Svidler, and Shirov
1/05+7/04: Moro, Svidler, and Shirov.

If FIDE chose the the 7/04 and 1/05 rating lists with an eye to bringing certain players to San Luis, that selection shows FIDE:
--wanted Moro and Svidler.
--did not want Polgar.
--preferred Shirov to Ivanchuk or Bacrot.

Mig--

You say, "The only way this tournament solves anything without Kramnik participating is if it provides the winner with credibility enough to marginalize Kramnik." I guess I'm a bit confused. Kramnik says he is open to the idea of playing a WCC match against the winner of the San Luis tournament. Assuming the tournament includes some mixture of Anand, Leko, Topalov, et al, and Kramnik plays the winner in a de facto unification match, that solves quite a lot, doesn't it?

This seems like a very welcome event, if it happens. What am I missing?

My comment was directed toward the way things are planned now, and that doesn't involve any match with Kramnik. I meant the tournament solving something on its own, the way FIDE and the participants are pretending is the case. Specifically, I was referring to Anand's comment about how this tournament would clear things up.

Ilyumzhinov suddenly changing his mind and declaring San Luis a qualifier for a match with Kramnik would be great, of course, but that's not what I was talking about. And at this point it would mean having invited players under false pretenses. They are virtually forced to carry on as-is right now and then try to negotiate a match after they have a winner, supposing they would even do that.

In Prague FIDE recognized Kramnik's title as one of the champions. They say they are continuing to do so by specially inviting him and Leko to San Luis. That is as far as they are willing to go, at least at this point.

MIg can you confirm the post by Duncan?? I mean this:

"If FIDE accepts that the Argentine tournament winner will play Kramnik, then Anand will drop out of the tournament."

That would be bad news :(

Anand rarely makes such categorical statements. In this case he would be justified for dropping out if only because FIDE would be baiting his invitation with a world championship and switching to a qualification match after he accepted. Not that he would, but he would have a good case.

But a match against Kramnik for the unified title isn't the same as one against Kasparov, who was dropped in out of nowhere. I think Anand would be amenable to a unification match if he won San Luis, but he rarely, if ever, goes on the record on these things early.

As for the other players, hard to say. Topalov has said he doesn't recognize Kramnik, but is pragmatic enough to say "why not?" The problem is that his manager is Silvio "the Yalta Destroyer" Danailov, the guiding hand behind Ponomariov's brilliant refutation of the Kasparov match.

The main issue is that we, the fans, can NEVER see a good reason why people don't "just play." So we shouldn't speak for them. There is also a fair chance that FIDE will try to go in the opposite direction and contractually prohibit the San Luis winner from playing for a different world title. They've done it before.

It would still be a FIDE World Championship. Just that it would also work as a qualifier for the unified title. Since Kramnik doesn't play this tournament doesn't unify anything in any case, so FIDE would not be taking anything away from him, would they?

As I was reading the Anand interview I realised that I have nothing against the knockout system (In fact neither have I anything against the traditional system but it's less important for now).

Mig (and/or anyone else), can you explain what's wrong with the knockout system and why is it for you and some players unacceptable? Where is Anand wrong? (And I think this "tradition" thing is not good enough, I would like to hear more practical arguments. There are a lot of traditions that were changed and worked out pretty good, taking bath every day instead of twice a year just to name one :)))

zsp

The best practical reason was pointed many times: the contingency of a winner. Many players supported Khaliphman's system where you are out only after two defeats, not one.

There are rumors that contracts with players contain the taboo for playing alternative WCs, which Mig alluded to. Mig, would you please confirm that there is such a ban? Or there is only a possibility of such prohibition?

zsp--

The "knockout" format isn't the problem. The old candidates matches were "knockout" events: Fischer, for example, having knocked out Taimanov, Larsen and Petrosian to get to Spassky. The problem is the mini-match knockout. Even the world's best players blunder away a game now and then. In a mini-match knockout that one blunder may knock the best player out of the event. In a tournament or long match format that player has time to recover from his loss.

The San Luis double round-robin is better than nothing and will likely produce a strong and interesting title-holder for a reunification match with Kramnik: Anand, Leko, Topalov, even Shirov. But a draw-filled, bunched-up field could allow a Kasimdzhanov to sneak through.

A new twist and it looks like Duncan theory has some credibility. Anand compares San Luis 2005 to The Hague 1948 when Botwinnik, Keres, Euwe, Reshevsky and Smyslov competed in all play all format (6 games match? someone correct me.)and Botwinnik won. Curiously it was known as FIDE Title Tournament!

Here is the link.

http://www.hindu.com/2005/05/11/stories/2005051105062100.htm

But, wasn't that tournament held because Alekhine died when he was still the title holder. Last I heard, Kramnik is healthy as an Ox :-))

I'm not sure if I have the chronology right but if I do the I think Anand has basically said he does not want to compete for the real world championship.

1)FIDE announces the Argentina tournament

2)Kramnik refuses

3)FIDE says they will implement this elaborate cycle in 05-07.

This cycle they announced has the Argentina winner playing in the Semifinals. Note it does *not* have the winner of a unification match between Argentina winner and Kramnik in the Semi Finals.

So more likely than not FIDE will have some sort of clause that if you play in Argentina you can't play for the real title. Anand was appearantly fine with that.

FIDE does not want the winners of thier various events to play Kramnik. Appearantly Anand does not want to play Kramnik either. WE will know for sure when we actually see the contracts. FIDE doesn't want to admit that thier championships since 1993 were a joke.

Sri--
Anand would have no authority to commit FIDE to a unification match with Kramnik. And it'd be presumptuous of him to assume he'll win at San Luis. He's hoping that the classical title could be resolved in San Luis but he's ruling out nothing. The 1948 event was intended for six players but Fine dropped out. It ended up as five players playing a 5-round round robin.

Nice--
I'd think FIDE would welcome a Kramnik-Anand unification match following San Luis. A popular match, a nice payday, and all the loose ends wrapped up neatly under FIDE's control.

Greg
What will FIDE do about the part where the Argentina winner gets into the Semifinal match of the '05-'07 cycle? Will the Argentina winner still be placed there even if he/she loses or refuses a unification match to Kramnik? Or will FIDE renege on the Argentina winner?

Nice--The San Luis winner gets into the '05-'07 cycle semifinals win or lose. If Kramnik wins a unification match, he, too, gets a semi-final slot. If Kramnik loses they give him a quarter-final slot.

Has Anand indicated before that he recognises Kramnik as whatever "World Champion"?

Anand aualified to play Kaparov in 1995 after going thru a qualifying cycle under the PCA body. He obviously recognised the legitimacy to Kasparov's World Title then.

But Kramnik never qualified to meet Kasparov. In fact he lost the 2-player qualifier to Shirov. No other player had a chance to qualify to meet Kasparov. So somehow I seriously doubt if Anand recognises the legitimacy of Kramnik's "title".

It would be too much to ask of Anand to play a "unification" match with Kramnik assuming he wins in Argentina. That would imply he recognises Kramnik's "title".

If I am Anand, I would be happy with the title of "Official World Champion" won in a tournament where every player who has a reasonable chance to win have been invited to play and the format is generally acceptable. I wouldn't taint the official title by subsequently playing a "unification" match.

I think there was a bit more to the story than that. In 2000 Anand was asked to play Kasparov. Negotiations broke down. I don't know exactly why, but I really don't think they ended because Anand said it woudln't be a "real world champ match." Everyone knew who the real champ was then and they all admitted it. Now people still know who the real champ is but its like pulling teeth to get them to admit it.

If Anand wants to change his story and now claim the title Kaspaorv lost in 2000 is nto worth unifying with the title FIDE has been sporting around he can. Its not the worst crime committed in chess but its still ridiculous. *If* he wins and avoids kramnik, hes doing just that - avoiding Kramnik.

Who else has confirmed for Argentina ?

Mig :

May 13th is over. Who else has confirmed for Argentina?

According to http://www.fide.com/news/download/pr050515.doc

..Kramnik and Kasparov were the only ones on the original list who declined!

"The Board meeting, which was chaired by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, approved the final list of participants who have all confirmed their participation in the World Chess Championship Tournament, 27 September - 16 October 2005 in San Luis, Argentina:

1. GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB, World Champion)
2. GM Vishwanathan Anand (IND, World Champion 2000-2002)
3. GM Veselin Topalov (BUL)
4. GM Peter Leko (HUN)
5. GM Michael Adams (ENG)
6. GM Alexander Morozevich (RUS)
7. GM Peter Svidler (RUS)
8. GM Judith Polgar (HUN)

The Province of San Luis, as the appointed organizer of the World Chess Championship Tournament 2005, gave a complete and professional presentation of the event preparations, a presentation which left the FIDE Board members with the certainty that this World Championship would be one of the best organized ever. The Argentinian delegation in Doha, Qatar was led by the Governor of San Luis Province, H.E. Alberto Rodriguez Saa, a man with a clear and proven vision for the development of San Luis."

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