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Kirsan Gives a Maybe

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In a Sport Express interview, FIDE prez Kirsan Ilyumzhinov acknowledged that FIDE might allow the San Luis winner to play a unification match against classical champion Vladimir Kramnik. Good to hear, if not exactly a surprise to these pages. It's been translated on the FIDE site, so it's clearly meant as a signal flare.

Ilyumzhinov: The World Champion title belongs to the World Chess Federation (FIDE), the negotiations regarding such match are possible in principle only with FIDE. If Kramnik's sponsors propose something interesting, we do not eliminate the possibility of such a match of the only legal World Champion who is defined in San Luis against the so called Classical World Champion. If of course the only legal World Champion accepts it.

This is basically as expected. There is no reason for FIDE to refuse such a match categorically if there's a buck in it for them. And note that it isn't clear Kramnik would become the FIDE champion if he wins. Assuming that's the case, the problem is Kramnik showing up with the money. I've always said that if Big Vlad can knock on FIDE's door with a sack full of loot we'll have a unification match faster than you can say "no draw odds and an extra rest day." Let's hope he's still in good with Ms. NAO.

I doubt the schedule of the just-announced 2005 FIDE World Cup is set in stone, but there could be time issues. Will the San Luis winner feel like putting his/her title on the line so quickly? I guess it wouldn't matter if this unification match happened after the World Cup. None of the San Luis players are more or less likely to go for a big money unification match, except maybe Anand. He doesn't need the cash or the legitimacy and likes a low-stress lifestyle. Topalov himself isn't an issue, but his manager is the same guy who did such wonders for Ponomariov's match with Kasparov.

An item on a May Kramnik interview is here. Other stuff on FIDE and unification here and here.


Thats good news! And notice that FIDE is saying it even before the San Luis event happened. I expected that FIDE says it afterwards but before is indeed unexpected, because San Luis now looks like a second-category WCC (which San Luis actually is).

I was just looking at (the Babelfish translation of) a Lautier interview for 64.ru where he seemed to be saying that FIDE had been saying pretty much the same thing in the FIDE-ACP talks (not oppose a match in principle but hold their own WC first and then see). Then FIDE published that only minutes later.


Roughly two months ago I made several posts indicating that I believed FIDE was going to wait till after San Luis happened or at least was set in stone sponsorship-wise to accept Kramnik's challenge. It is quite elementary, my dear Watson, the media attention and sponsorship would be much higher for a world championship than it would for a tournament to determine a number one challenger to somebody else's title. And there is of course the issue of pride to consider.

Frankly, I feel it was a "no-brainer" at this point and was very surprised at that clause in the FIDE WCC agreement. Why keep Kramnik's title hanging over the head of unification? It would be the one way to reunify the mess Kasparov created.

If San Luis were a 2nd category WCC (whatever that is), it would not become a 1st category with Kramnik playing. The one person who could change that is Kasparov, not Kramnik. Kramnik would struggle to break even in San Luis (or even score a full point). He has not proved himself to be a worthy champion and would only detract from the excitement of San Luis with his penchant to draw every game.

This lineup is full of high-octane players who play to win and will be good for chess.

Kirsan is continuing his re-election campaign - and doing everything he can to negate Karpov's campaign against him.

Kirsan is a very savvy politician. He knows that the FIDE delegates are aware of the harm the ACP can cause if it has a mind to; so Kirsan is courting them (Kramnik). He also knows the delegates want to feel that they are important and in control, so he is creating the illusion that there will be a unification of the chess title and that it will be under FIDE auspices (more money in the FIDE coffers).

The World Cup is also a political tournament because it gives money to 128 professional chess players. That is why he is taking money from the impoverished people of Kalmykia and giving it to the organizers of the World Cup, so that the event can be staged. Now, in one way or another he has gotten all the top players in his corner, as well as many FIDE delegates.

This is because too many people are concerned with making money today, but not insuring their ability to make money in the future. They are concerned with their egos, and not with the future of chess.

I find this very sad.

i'm a bit surprised that some folks still seem to be fixated on Kramnik. The man has lost his mojo, tho his club cup performance of +1 is better than usual. he's destined to go down in history as the only man who beat GK in a match, but dont think he'll scale the heights again. Sad thing is, even this achievement will always be tainted in some people's minds (including mine) by thoughts of his pusillanimity afterwards. He reinforced the view that something fell into his lap and by golly, he was going to hang on to it, by hook or by crook.

For the uneducated among us, including myself, pusillanimity is the quality of being pusillanimous, i.e. cowardly, timid, feeble, or mean-spirited.

I looked it up.

If you'd rather read the Kirsan interview in the original Russian: http://www.sport-express.ru/art.shtml?110042

Hi Mig

Do you know whether Kramnik is going to respond to the statement made by Kirsan?

"There must be some sort of a mistake here
Said the joke to the thief
I got no two million for you
And in rapid chess I don't believe
Businessmen they give me money
I can go and talk
I have a nice title to my name
Why should I have to work?"
"No reason to get excited,"
The Kalmykian kindly spoke
"There are many people in the chess world
Who feel my title is a joke
But you and I, we don't care about that
There is money to be made,
And if GMs have to bend over for us
Then let that be their fate."
All along the chess world
The fans, they howled and prayed
That in a sport that lost its sanity
Somehow the future would be saved
--All along the C file

Kramnik already announced his current view: he is willing to play vs. Argentina winner to unify the title. If FIDE or FIDE Champion is not willing to proceed, he is going to look for another 'Classical WC' opponent. May be with ACP help?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 24, 2005 9:13 AM.

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