Greengard's ChessNinja.com

FIDE Gets Real

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FIDE has gone sane. Hey, maybe the rumors that the DD is read in Kalmykia actually have some credence!? The international chess federation has announced an outline of a full 2005-2007 world championship cycle that includes candidates matches and a world championship match. That is, beyond the knock-out, which now, instead of a world championship, becomes something we recommended years ago, a "world cup" that sends top finishers into the candidates matches. The outline is in Word format here.

Much is left unsaid and even more left undone. How long are these matches? Long enough to be part of the classical world championship tradition? (14 should be a minimum for the final. 20 or 24 would be nice...) A last-minute addition to the doc says that the later stages will even use the classical time control instead of the FIDE semi-rapid that will still be used for the KO (now formally the World Cup).

This is almost too much good news to handle, despite the lack of sponsorship. There are some clouds on the horizon. Item 2.3.4 mentions the 2005 World Cup, last year announced for Vietnam. Last month a Vietnamese news story seemed to shoot down this possibility, despite FIDE's typically unwarranted optimism. A FIDE delegation went to Vietnam last month, but the announced April announcement was never announced. They never learn.

The FIDE turnaround toward the classical tradition is obviously very welcome. (Almost unnervingly so, since this is basically what I was asking for.) The trick is that we already have a classical world champion and Kramnik has stated he won't play in the unification world championship tournament in Argentina. Would all the San Luis players play if the winner had to play Kramnik for unification in 2006?

Now it's a tough call. Just yesterday I reiterated my support for Kramnik staying away from San Luis because FIDE would destroy the title with a KO. But if FIDE embraces the classical tradition Kramnik is running out of things to defend. If the outline is followed, the new FIDE champion will more credibility than Kramnik retains. (Following my formula of rigor + democracy = credibility.) There are still some vestiges of tradition from Kramnik's win over Kasparov in 2000, but what we really need is a classical cycle, and FIDE now seems intent on providing one. Kramnik won't be defending the classical tradition (other than succession) or anything other than his own right to the title.

In sum, my preference is for the San Luis winner to play Kramnik under FIDE's auspices. But if FIDE ignores him or if the San Luis players balk at this, especially Anand, Kramnik will have to think fast and consider playing.


Good news indeed that FIDE is rebuilding the cycle.

BTW, Anand appears to be ready to accept playing in San Luis (or is it Corcega?).
The link is to La Nación newspaper (Argentina), but I dount Ilardo wrote the piece (he's a lousy journalist and surely copied from somewhere else):


FIDE easily can include in San Luis contracts the paragraph which will prevent the winner from playing in the other (non-FIDE) Wch.
It seems to me that Kramnik should either find money for his Championship, and if it is not possible, then he should join FIDE. How much time he has? It depends on how real the San Luis Championship is. Nobody considers FIDE announcements to be reliable.

Traditional candidates matches to determine the challenger? This might be news to good to be true! Also having these matches at the "old" time control is much needed. I'm assuming 40 in 150 minutes, or maybe 120 with a 30 second increment? Either way would suffice, although using the increment adds equal footing to the players struggle. Welcome news indeed Mig!

Is it true that under the Prague agreement Kramnik accepted to join seven other players in the Quarter Final matches of the so called Third Cycle?
If so, I don't see much difference between that Third Cycle and the tournament in Argentina.
However, I was unable to find any comments by Kramnik himself on the "Third Cycle" and the term also doesn't appear in the documents that were signed in Prague.
If he really accepted to play in the Third Cycle under those conditions, how can it be a "matter of principle" not to play in San Luis? What is the difference, in principle, between giving up all the world champion's privileges now in Argentina or later in a "Third Cycle"?

According to Chessbase web site FIDE also received a US$1.5 million bid from Sardinia in Italy. If this is true it shows that the final of the World Chess Championship is perfectly marketable. It seems to me the problem is to find sponsors to fund the other stages of the cycle leading to the final of the WCC. I assume a long cycle with many qualifying tournaments and candidates matches would be preferable to determine the challenger to the champion but this is more expensive and therefore less marketable. A short cycle, as the knock out format for example, introduces a lot of randomness to the cycle but is easier to market. I guess the only way to move forward is to compromise and settle for an intermediate solution, which seems to be FIDE’s approach now.

We need a fair system to determine the challenger AND a new world champion asap. Kramnik, the champion who never had the right to challenge Kasparov in the first place, has simply not lived up to the expectations. Alas, Kasparov´s worst mistake was not his match with Short outside FIDE. His worst mistake was to pick up Kramnik as challenger AND lose the match. Two unforced errors in a row! As the best chess player in history Kasparov should know you cannot make two unforced errors in a row without serious consequences.

On another matter according to FIDE The Court of Arbitration (CAS) in Lausanne has ruled in favour of FIDE in the case submitted by GM Milov regarding his participation in the WCC in Libya. A blow to many of those who criticized FIDE at that time.


"Is it true that under the Prague agreement Kramnik accepted to join seven other players in the Quarter Final matches of the so called Third Cycle?"

No, Kramnik did not agree to this. The format you mentioned was the original proposal for the first cycle. Kramnik did not agree to this, and the format was changed.

The original proposal, made by Yasser Seirawan in 2002, in available in the link http://www.chesscafe.com/text/freshstart.pdf

The whole story that lead to the Prague agreement, also reported by Seirawan, is available at the following three links:

When has Kramnik said that he won't play the winner of San Luis for the title? And as the current champion, I see no reason why needs to play in a tournament that should actually be the qualifier. What are people in this forum smoking?

I (and many others) had said that once Kasparov quits, unification is much more likely. We are already see progress towards that.


he needs to play in a qualifier because he has no credibility as champion. he lost every qualification match he played in, was still handpicked to play and somehow won, which definitely was amazing. However since then he has had mediocre results, but got the maximum mileage out of his win, dodging in particular a rematch which the world was really salivating for. If he had a) gone through at least a remotely rigourous qualifying cycle or b) had some definitive results after his win over Kasparov, he would be entitled to insist on rigour in qualifying. Without either, he cannot climb on his high horse. As simple as that.

The chickens are coming home to roost. Kasparov's 2000-2005 bullying demands for special treatment may have cost him a title shot. FIDE's lottery-style WC events produced "champions" lacking any credibility. And now Kramnik's indolence, 2000-2005, in setting up a challenger-selection system may leave him standing out in the cold.

With a credible functioning challenger-selection process in place, Kramnik would have enjoyed a reasonably strong position in renewed reunification discussions with FIDE. With no such process in place Kramnik's position is tenuous indeed.

Having taken his place in the classical line of champions, having defeated Kasparov and drawn Leko in long matches, Kramnik's title would be arguably more credible than that of the Linares-style Argentina FIDE 2005 champion. But assuming that in the 05-07 cycle FIDE stages long Candidates matches and a long championship match, the 05-07 FIDE champion will have a strong claim to being the world's best player. And Kramnik's failure to participate in the new cycle could be reasonably looked upon as an abdication where Kramnik could have assured himself of a spot in the 05-07 Candidates matches merely finishing in the top half in Argentina. His top 5 rating would also guarantee him a spot in the "Last Chance Supertournament" where he'd only have to finish in the top three (of ten places) to earn a place in the Candidates matches.

A system where the new champ gains his legitimacy by beating the reigning champ in a long title match invites chaos when the reigning champ hijacks the title or imposes unreasonable conditions on his title defense. In the 2005-2007 cycle, the reigning world champion will still have to be dethroned in a (hopefully) long match. It's just that this long "dethroning" match could take place in the semi-finals. Given the disastrous consequences resulting from Kasparov's hijacking of the FIDE title, FIDE is justified in attempting to prevent that from happening again.

FIDE's lame Linares-style Argentina championship plus promises of a future democratic/credible cycle may simply be a bait-and-switch. But Kramnik has offered no alternative and now it's probably too late for him to do so.

Barring a spectacular run of tournament victories, Kramnik won't be given a reunification match with either the Argentina winner or the 2005-07 winner. He'll not be able to attract much interest in a competing cycle and by 2007 his Classical title would look as limp as Fischer's or Pono's or Kasim's. It may be prudent for Kramnik to skip the Argentina tournament. But if FIDE really pulls off this ambitious 05-07 cycle and offers Kramnik a "reunification" slot in the Final Eight Candidates matches he should probably grab it.

Whether Kramnik was qualified to play Kasparov or not is irrelevant, the point is that he did play for the title, and succeeded in doing what no one else ever could. He beat Kasparov. This is no small feat and this fact alone gives Kramnik the credentials to call himself World Champion. His other results are irrelevant. Suggesting that a sitting world champion play in a qualifier is preposterous. What world champion in the history of the game would have agreed to that?

jason kramnik's legitimacy as a challenger to Kasparov is key here. Consider that there were some limited qualifiers and Kasparov seeing Kramnik was not getting through, decided to offer him a match anyway because he felt it would be a good fight, and also because there were commercial interests. To start with, that weakens the challeger's credibility. He won the Kasparov match fair and square, but since then behaved with rather obvious pusillanimity, and put together a string of mediocre results, shedding rating points and world ranking. Yes if he had qualified properly, he would be a true World Champion, regardless of what happened outside the title match. Yes if he blitzed the field afterwards, he would have in some sense put to bed the fact he challenged Kasparov over more legitimate challengers, namely Shirov who beat him in an actual qualifying match, and Anand who I think was rated higher than him at the time but refused a match. Without either, he isnt a true world champion in the tradition of his immediate predecessors, just somebody who beat Kasparov in a match, the only player of course ever to do that, and worthy of a place in history just for that.

Let's see if I understand this argument. Kramnik defeated the world's best player, the champion. But he's not "legitimate" because he didn't beat lesser players on the way to the Kasparov match?

C'mon folks. If your Aunt Tilda walked out of the old folks home and beat Kasparov in a 16-game WC match SHE'D be legit.

Thank you, edu ! I was told that Kramnik had already agreed to that by signing the Prague Unity Plan. I'm very glad that he didn't, but everybody should be aware that the new FIDE regulations simply abolish the classical world championship as we know it and follow Seirawan's proposal for the "Second Cycle":

"E Semi-Final Matches
The three winners of the quarter-final matches will join the World Champion (winner of the World Chess Championship Tournament 2005) for the semi-final matches."

I doubt that Kasparov would ever have accepted this and I hope that Kramnik never will.

oh greg ye of little consistency.. First you bash Kasparov for all you're worth, saying he didnt own the title. Now you're saying anybody who walks in off the street and beats him is a legit WC for life? (I say for life because that's how Kramnik is behaving). You were right in the first place, Kasparov didnt own the title. However until his defeat by Kramnik, he was obviously the best player around. So the question was moot. Anybody who aspired to anything had to beat Kasparov. However anybody who beats him doesnt automatically inherit that mantle. He has to earn it, in ways other than winning that match (and yeah I know, he drew with Leko). Of course nobody would have said Kramnik wasnt WC 1 month after his victory, or 1 year or even 3 years. But now? Sheesh.. no. 4 in the world and dropping, and a draw with Leko in one match in how many years? Your Aunt Tilda is starting to look better. You know what, I really dont care, just my work is so boring I got suckered into this.


The folks on this blog don't need to be "suckered into" posting and do care about these topics. You can tell by the way they take the time and trouble to write coherently about them.

speak for yourself son. Others will do the same.

Please be clear. You say that anyone who beats a WC doesnot automatically inherit that mantle. He has to earn it, in ways other than winning that match.

What are the other ways? Kramnik beat the WC Kasparov and became a WC. Are you meant to say like Karpov? Why some people here saying Kramik's time is running out. Only recently, he defended his match against Leko.

If FIDE can really pull this off, it puts Kramnik in a really difficult spot. He is the legit WC, beating Kasparov in a match and drawing Leko to defend. His problem is spending too much time painting, and not enough winning and arranging a cycle.

The WC title is not formalized - it is only as credible as the process and actions of the holder and contenders. If the FIDE creates a cycle of classical matches with the 2700+ club, Kramnik will need to reach agreement to align with the FIDE or be marginalized (much like the FIDE WC in the 90s). Is this fair? Maybe not, but by not dominating the competition and not setting up a unifying cycle over the last 5 years, he has opened the door.

Only because Kasparov was a talented/arrogant organizer one shouldn't blame Kramnik for not organizing a cycle. He has to come out with a plan (which he did) and negotiate but Kramnik is a chess player, not an institution.

Happy to hear this news from FIDE...but FIDE is FIDE and chessplayers are chessplayers, so I'll wait before I start jumping off the walls for joy.

I'm cautiously optimistic with mixed feelings.

The bad: Clearly the intent is to kill off the traditional WC bloodline and essentially give the competing FIDE champion's line a new lease on life. They are heavy handedly only recognizing FIDE champions. This essentially kills off the historic Championship many chess fans love.(again unless you want to accept that the historic championship was won by Karpov when he beat Timman qnd passed on through that route.)

The good: It seems to be a very good cycle. Yes they continue to have games decided in blitz tiebreaks but the top five rated players can bypass that nonesense and get to the matches. Also

The cautious: Ok this is what FIDE should have done since Prague.(3 years ago) Why do they announce this only after Kramnik says he wont play in Argentina? Really why didn't they announce this before so that Kramniks concerns for future cycles would be satisfied and then the Kasp Kasim match could take place and Kramnik could play Kasp? I'm sorry I don't trust it.
Are they really going to continue this or if Kramnik participates and throws his title in this mix are we going to see Tripoli 2008? Then what? Are we to trust FIDE? Will they commit to anything about future rounds? This thing screams out that it is a one time deal. In order to really try ot get a turnout for argentina they are making *half* the players in the Argentina tournament qualify for the matches!? And second place in this tournament seeds you into the quarterfinals? Yet the guy who won Kasparov's title gets nothing.

They continue to want to just declare what happens. Although here its what I want to happen but that doesn't mean I'm convinced they aren't just making a power play with every intention to destroy the title after they have it. Do they genuinely want a cycle like this? If the winner of Kasim Kasp played kramnik with out insisting they lay out anythign like this first would they have done this?

I think if we look at this rationally we would have to say no they wouldn't have. Because if they meant to do this they would have laid this out soon after Prague. Instead they tried to do everything they could to avoid offering a plan that could be held up to the court of popular opinion. Am I to assume they had a change of heart and now all of a sudden they really want candidates matches every 2 or 3 years? I'm very suspicious of this.

oh d d d, tsk tsk d d...

"he isnt a true world champion in the tradition of his immediate predecessors, just somebody who beat Kasparov in a match"

And Alekhine was just someone who defeated Capa, Tal was just someone who defeated Botvinnik, Fishcer was just someone who defeated Spassky and so forth. Of course your logic is deep as a saucer here, but you would have a point if you could prove Kramnik's play since is unworthy of a WC: but once again, nothing there. Petrosian never took an undivided tournament first prize during his WC reign, so does that disqualify him based on your "true" criteria?

I didn't think so. At the beginning and end of the day, to be the man you gotta beat the man. And Kramnik's the man.

Moreover, I think Greg speaks for a lot of bloggers who don't feel coerced or "suckered" into giving opinions on world chess.

we are like pavlovs dogs - fide rings the bell and we start to drivel. but unlike pavlovs dogs we will never get the goodies. from my point of view this cyle-candidate-wolducp chit chat is the normal fied blahblah and its sole purpose is to put pressure on kramnik. obviously fide wants back the champions title. what will they do afterwards....just think about it.....an organisation like fide, unable to produce something sensible and now they have solved all problems within two weeks....WAKE UP

clubfoot, i seem to have a masochistic streak, so in spite of knowing you're a troll, i'll take on the onerous task of explaining something logical to you. First of all observe the word "immediate" preceding the word "predecessors". Which means people say in a 50-60 year period before. Among others Botvinnik, Petrosian, Tal, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov went through rigourous qualifiers. Did you read my post at all or were you just indulging in your favourite pastime of blowing off? It didnt matter whether Petrosian lost to Koster's Aunt Tilda during his reign, because he had EARNED the right through qualifying to challenge the WC, whom he beat. The title was FIDE's to give, they had a rigourous structure around it, and he went through it and won. Therefore he was WC for the designated period. You make a point to prove my point. Dear oh dear.. Kramnik beat the World's greatest in a match, more power to him. And he's not obliged to play anybody anywhere, but neither is the title his personal property. The man now is not Kramnik. There are several actually, Anand, Topalov, Leko, Morozevich...

"to be the man you gotta beat the man"...it's great to see Ric Flair quoted in a chess forum. The line fits. Kramnik is indeed (in Flair-speak) "the straw that stirs the drink" in the chess world today. Let's not sell him short. The F.I.D.E. leadership crew seems bizarre even by pro-wrestling standards. I pity the chess professionals from the top 10 on down the line who have to deal with them.

thank you. Yeah, time to wake up, people.
Just think. If Kramnik gives away his title in Argentina, FIDE will have no opposition at all. Winner of this tournament will have no connection with the line of previous champions. This is exactly FIDE's plan. Future cycle? They were unable to organize 1 match (Kasp-Kasim), so forget it. KO in North Korea, at most.

That is why FIDE will never agree to a match between Kramnik and winner of Argentina. The winner of that match would have too much credibility.

Let's ignore the question of Kramnik's participation for a moment: Who here agrees with this new FIDE provision that the world champion will have to play in the next semi-finals?

Could we imagine Lasker, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Kasparov etc. having to play in the semi-finals? Would that not have diminished their stature as reigning world champions?


In an ideal world the WC should defend his title in a long title match. But this structure allows a high-stature champion to hijack the title by bolting, or by imposing unreasonable conditions on his title defense.

FIDE's solution is not unreasonable. If the semi-finals are long matches then someone will still have to beat the WC in a long (semi-final or title) match to dethrone him. If the WC refuses to participate in the semi-finals you simply replace him at that level...and your cycle will still be able to produce a title match and a champion.

Asw far as competing at the semifinal match I think its Ok as long as the match is at least 14 games.

The document says:

"These decisions were presented in a document that was sent to 150 top GMs two years ago."

Was this really the case? I never heard of this cycle. Anybody know what are they talking about?

Hey Whiskeyreb, you're on the money. In fact, a deleted section of Kramnik's nyet-release of last week seemed directly informed by the Nature Boy:

"Like I've ALWAYS said, when it's time to walk that aisle, there ain't many with the paste to step up to Rad Vlad -- ANAND!!? TOPALOV!!? ADAMS!!? LUGER!!? SVIDLER!!? Looks like EVERYBODY wants to ride Space Mountain, but they're letting that lame federation call the shots! So think fast: I got the belt and YOU want it, so why not just come and take it from me?

Take it from this limo-ridin' nimzo-glidin' Leko-tyin' kiss-stealin' cigarette-draggin' knight-forkin' stylin' 'n' hair-stylin' World Champion: take me down in a match and THEN we go to school. WHOOOOO!!!"

Carsten Henzl may have made slight textual changes.

No matter how much certain Kramnik haters would like to put down Kramnik's world championship title and over 100 years of chess world championship tradition, the fact remains the same - Vladimir Kramnik is the reigning world champion. Some fans may like to make it seem like he is not worthy of the title and that the title doesn't have the legitimacy, but that is mainly because it makes them feel better about the failure of their beloved players (such as Anand) to win the coveted world championship title that Kramnik now holds.

Even if FIDE organizes the best possible cycle and proclaims that its winner is the true world champion, that should cloud one's judgement - that the only real world champion now is Kramnik and he will remain one if he keeps playing and defending his title against reasonable challengers. I will repeat myself - Kramnik won the title by beating the reigning world champion in a world championship match and the only way he can lose that title (barring his retirement or death) is if he loses to a challenger in a world championship match.

I think this "cycle" is FIDE's attempt to hijack the title, kill off the chess world championship tradition and make sure that their KO lottery is the only thing that is left. Kramnik should never agree to deal with them, except maybe for using the Argentina tournament as a candidates tourney to decide on a challenger to Kramnik.

Well said Russianbear! You can't trust FIDE further than you can throw them.


Yes, Russianbear, just ignore all the reasons why some people say they don't consider Kramnik's title kosher. Just ignore them and you can tell yourself that you are quite right.
Nevermind the lengthy explanations on such perspective, it's merely that we want to feel better about our stupid opinions.
i see it's business as usual here.

Btw, i for one, and probably am the only one, think it's much more important to have a legitimate WC right now than to have the future cycles carved in stone.
It is no reason to let the same bully hold the title for WC because there are organisational problems.

That said, i like FIDE's new suggestion for cycles and hope they will merely ignore Kramnik if he demands to continue sitting in his soapbox. Defended his title against Leko? It was partly a great match, but hardly conclusive. WC matches should be conclusive. Fischer would never have agreed to such a match format, not him being the reigning champion or the challenger.

Now all we need is Kasparov to unretire coz there seems to finally be a clear path to the Crown.

Kramnik a "bully"??? Sitting "in" a soapbox?? I don't understand. I also don't understand why Fischer's supposed preferences should matter in 2005. A clear path to the crown for Kasparov?? You either have an over active imagination or an exclusive insider source. Have a nice day.

Kramnik defended his title against a qualifier 6 months ago. You may not like him, his style is not the most interesting, he doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve and make good news, but results in WC matches are the only thing that matters. Any of the top 10 had the chance to take it away from him. Kasparov and Anand (my personal favourite) chose not to participate and therefore don't have a leg to stand on.

All save Leko weren't good enough to get through Dortmund and Leko wasn't good enough to unseat Kramnik. End of story.

Like it or lump it (I don't particularly like it), but Kramnik is WC and as was said above, he is the man who beat the man and until the new man comes along he's legit.

al, yes, Karmnik drew a match against Leko, but a regularly scheduled Tournament was suddenly declared a "qualifier" to select a challenger. Better than none, but hardly the ideal situation. This is just my point, Kramnik's title has been DILUTED, because of many factors, primary among them his lack of legitimacy in challenging Kasparov in the first place, his lack of convincing results since his victory, and lack of a convincing defense of his title (convincing neither in his victory - a draw- nor in the rigour of having a legitimate challenger - The 2nd rated player, Anand and a host of other strong players didnt participate in the "qualifier"). I guess its subjective, to some he's the World Champion because he beat Kasparov. To others like me he's something like half a champion (because of the reasons mentioned above and also his seeming tendency to avoid playing Kasparov afterwards), a great player, but not the unequivocal top dog.

btw, i dont think Kramnik's style is uninteresting myself except when he goes for obvious short draws. When he comes to play, his brand of positional play is fun to watch. Of course I prefer Moro, but then who doesnt? :-)

I suppose the only illegitimacy in the title is Leko. I mean who was he when there were two other players who most of the chessplaying world saw as being real contenders. And then he only drew, implying that he would have no doubt lost to Anand or Kasparov, right? I am sure that if Kramnik had ignored Dortmund 2002 and played Anand and then drawn his match with Anand 7-7, no one would be really complaining. But wait a second, both players had the right to play the qualifier. They did not. How to blaim Krmanik for then taking the results of his own qualifier and playing Leko? It is not right so get it out of your heads. Kramnik is champion and hopefully Anand will play in this qualifier. All I can say is that in a draw odds match against even Anand, Kramnik will be very hard to beat.

There are lots of opinions, but there isn't a chain of challengers defeating WC to claim the title. Neither Botvinnik or Karpov beat the prior champion in a title match. Second, the only way FIDE can hijack the title is if the chess world thinks their WC is credible. For example, Fischer forfits the title to Karpov and the world goes with the FIDE because he hadn't played in years, and was no longer a credible WC. After Kasparov leaves the FIDE WC, the chess world still considers him the WC due to continued dominance and credible matches, while the Karpov FIDE matches are an asterisk in the history books. The difference? The credibilty of the WC titleholder. If Kramnik doesn't feel like painting often enough, he becomes like Fischer, instead of Kasparov.

I believe he is the legit WC. But his approach since winning the title has put his WC title credibility at risk.

Do I understand correctly that the new regulations call for the champion to be placed into the semifinals of the next cycle? That strikes me as a different version of a knockout, and not what most people want from a championship cycle.

Kramnik should stay away until the rules are set-up for him to play the winner of a cycle.

It wouldn't necessarily be Kramnik by that point, remember. I don't have a problem with the champion playing two matches instead of one. I didn't like three (champion in quarterfinals, as in Seirawan's plan) because this could mean having a final match between two people who never faced the former champion. With so many worthy players out there today it's a logical modernization to remove some of the champion's privileges. I'd prefer that the champion only play the final, but it's not something I'd go to the wall for over starting in the semis.

Draw odds should also be killed, but not at the cost of rapid tiebreaks, so that makes scheduling a problem. A tied match becomes an unlimited game match, so draw odds are really just a way to ensure you have a winner at the end of the allotted number of games.

Inserting Kramnik into the 2005-07 cycle at the semi-final level would be a nice compromise. The FIDE cycle participants would give up a semi-final slot. Vlad would give up his "right" to a title match. A new world champion would have either beaten Kramnik in a long semi-final match, or would have beaten the man who beat Kramnik in the semis. And the chess world would get a unified title and an undisputed champion--to the benefit of all. Would Kramnik, Leko, Anand, and Topalov go along?

The top four players achieve about one decisive result per five games played against each other. Kramnik prevailed in both his WC matches by winning two games. In the modern era draw odds, even in a 24-game match, give the champ an overwhelmingly unfair advantage. If a WC match is tied "in regulation" perhaps the expenses for its continuation could be taken from the prize fund.

Lets nto try to rewrite history. Nobody seriously thought Fischer was no longer world champion *until* he refused to play Karpov. The fact that he didn't play a single game after Sopassky but befroe hsi scheduled defense had nothing to do with his losing the title. FIDE ruled that his requirement that the challenger had to beat him by 2 games or he keeps the title was unfair. He then *resigned* his title.

Kramnik has already told FIDE he would play the winner of Argentina. There is absolutely no indication he woudl require that the argentina tournament winner would have to win by 2 games. FIDE now wants kramnik to start completely form scratch! To even remotely suggest Fischer was more willing to defend hsi title thant Kramnik is just absolutely ridiculous.

Kasparov's title had more weight mainly because Short was undefeated in the candidate matches as was Kasparov. FIDE took Karpov and Timman who had both just lost thier candidates matches and then tried to say the winner of that match had a better claim than the winners of the same cycle.

Alekine died.

Yes kasparov had more clout because he was so dominant but no one would claim that it meant that if Short or Anand beat him one on one in a World championship match they woudln't be world champions.

Kramnik is willing to defend his title on terms no more favorable than any other world champ had requested. Its up to FIDE if they want the real world champion involved in thier affairs. If they ever have this cycle whoever wins it will accomplish something great. But unless Kramnik dies, resigns his title, or loses a match in this event, the winner of the cycle won't be the world chess champion.

Dear Mig

[A] Do you think that FIDE will hold such a cycle? They could not organize a single match.

[B] When Kramnik has already said that he will not participate in San Luis is this not just ignoring him and his proposal for unification?

[C] I even suspect announcing a cycle like this is just a try from FIDE to get the players participate there, nothing more.

[D] I agree if FIDE manages to hold such a cycle, Kramnik is in a bad position only if he does not come up with a cycle of his own. I think he will create a cycle and nothing will change a FIDE Champion and a Classical Champion.

[E] Is it likely that the winner of San Luis and Kramnik play a match outside FIDE? I mean Kramnik can take San Luis as a qualification tournament for himself and after that he needs just to reach an agreement with the winner. I think finding sponsors wont be as hard as Kramnik-Leko match.

new kramnik interview on cb (german)

Kramnik seems to be changing his position significantly in this interview. He is now claiming that he is ready to play the FIDE champion, no matter who he is and he does not care how FIDE determines his opponent.

If memory serves, before Kasparov - Kasimdzhanov fell through, Kramnik was saying that he had only agreed to play the winner of Kasparov - Ponomarev.

His phrase "I can see absolutely no reason to change the Prague agreement at this stage" is quite telling - if taken in combination with his favorite statement that the Prague is dead. No way, it is magically alive again!

Well, it looks like the heroic world champion is quite satisfied that he has helped to speed up Kasparov's retirement (by implying he would not play him) and he can now afford to be magnanimous enough to kindly agree to play whatever opponent FIDE serves up for him.

dz, all the other elite players will participate in San Luis. They didn't play in Tripoli. T h a t's the difference. That's why the Kasmdhanov-Kasparov match lacked legitimacy.

Well, Kramnik does not seem to care about "legitimacy" any longer, does he? His exact words: "I am ready to play a reunification match for the title against the FIDE world champion. How they find my opponent is their problem."

As long as that opponent is not Kasparov, of course - which is no longer the problem and to me t h a t seems the real change.

You should also quote the beginning of that paragraph:

"Q: How do you think FIDE should solve the impasse?

Kramnik: Only with fairness."

So what he really said was:
"I am ready to play a reunification match for the title against the FIDE world champion. How they find my opponent is their problem" (as long as it is done in a fair way).

Which is entirely consistent with all he has ever said on the subject of reunification. I think you are grasping at straws.

Rewrite history? Not in the least. Short didn't bring the majority of the crediblity to the WC title, it was Kasparov. By approach and play. After 5 years of debate and press releases, one match and no planned cycle, it doesn't matter if you agree with Kramnik or not. He has marginalized himself into this position. No kidding Alekhine died. He lost the match against the grim reaper, so maybe he's WC:) My point is there isn't an unbroken chain of defeated titleholders.

No there isnt, but there was an unbroken chain of credibility until Kramnik; Botvinnik won a tourney consisting of all the big guns, Karpov won a series of qualifiers and was clearly the best challenger .. And if as Niceforkin says either Anand or Short had won, there indeed would have been more credibility, directly correlated to how those two gentlemen became challengers in the first place.. This was my original point...

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on May 4, 2005 11:06 AM.

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