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2005 FIDE WCh r7

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r7 pairings: Topalov-Kasimdzhanov 1-0, Leko-Adams 1-0, Svidler-Polgar 1-0, Morozevich-Anand 1-0. Links to other coverage. Topalov leads by two full points after winning yet again in round six. He is amazing. The organizers should give him the trophy now. Of the eight games remaining he has white in five. It's over. Round nine, Anand-Topalov, will be the last possible chance of changing fate.

I've been up all night writing and fighting with a busted hard drive and smashing my finger in a window, so this will be brief. Polgar had a horrible lapse of judgment against Topalov's surprise Berlin with 20.g4?, allowing Black to open things up on the kingside and rapidly gain a winning advantage. Other games were drawn, but all were interesting. A tremendous tournament, almost a pity that first place has already been decided!

The comments are full of talk about Kramnik-Topalov (and Kasparov-Topalov?!). Certainly a crushing win like this one contributes to the FIDE champion's legitimacy. I.e., if it finished in a three-way tie for first at +2 and went to tiebreaks it would be much cloudier in public opinion. As I mentioned before, Topalov has the same manager, Silvio Danailov, as Ruslan Ponomariov had during the bizarre and catastrophic negotiations around Pono's various aborted matches with Kasparov in 2003. I want to think positive, however, so we'll have to wait and see what is said at the closing press conference, where Kramnik should be a topic. Of course nothing conclusive will be said or done unless a sack of money shows up.


I am really going to go out on a limb here and predit that Topalov wins today.

I like Topalov, but i think we should wait. One never knows what happens, he could crack, Anand can still win?! I hope Judit will recover and at least end at 0 or +1

Probably we can agree that the winner of this tournament will be a legitimate FIDE world champion, although Ivanchuk, Pono, Shirov, maybe some others will be disappointed that they failed to make an arbitrary cut. Kasparov isn't playing because he's retired, Kramnik isn't playing because he's not interested in being FIDE champion at the moment, both good reasons.

Let's hope the winner of this will play Kramnik, and the winner of that will be accepted as undisputed champion. Given where we have got to, that would seem like a remarkably successful conclusion to the whole mess.

I am really going to go out on a limb here and predict that Moro-Anand will be a great game of chess today.

p.s. Do y'all actually care about a subsequent [winner=Topalov] versus some K? I wonder if I'm alone in thinking the wch aspect is meaningless, pointless, uninteresting... I suspect I am alone in this regard. I also suspect I am a crank! But hooray for a very cool tournament here, in any event.

i'll agree the winner is a bona fide "FIDE WC", but i also agree that means very little and bears no resemblance whatsoever to being the World Chess Champion, and certainly doesn't have the same prestige.

I suspect you are disarmingly self-deprecating, Rob Fatland.

I am surprised that Topalov has taken such a commanding lead after just 6 0r 14 rounds! Two full points over the field! I think Topalov could even win his game today versus Kasindzanov!

The one blot on this "championship," even if Toppy wins it decisively, is that it's not a long match (14-20 games) against a single opponent chosen through a qualification cycle, which is the traditional way these things are settled.

Kramnik is increasingly irrelevant, but he has something Toppy does not: a title won in a long match against the unquestioned #1 at the time, Garry Kasparov. He followed that with a tepid defense, but a defense nonetheless, in a long match against a qualified opponent.

A Toppy-Krammy match would settle it once and for all. Whether it happens is primarily a matter of money. The difficulty is, the way Kramnik is playing lately, who'd sponsor it?

Nick Faulks wrote, "Kramnik isn't playing because he's not interested in being FIDE champion at the moment, both good reasons."

I believe that is incorrect. Kramnik would love to be FIDE champion, in addition to the title that he already has. But Kramnik does not believe he should put his title on the line in a round-robin tournament. One could accuse him of ulterior motives, but his point of view is consistent with tradition.

Good analysis, Marc. I concur.

Marc, what tradition did Kramnik uphold when he accepted being handpicked for a match against Kasparov by Kasparov himself, when he had lost every match he had played in previously? That of self promotion? My isnt it wonderful when one's own interests allow one to take the high road!

Yes, Marc Shepard's call for tradition does leave Kramnik out, to a certain degree. "[I]t's not a long match (14-20 games) against a single opponent chosen through a qualification cycle, which is the traditional way these things are settled."

Kramnik didn't qualify, Shirov did. I'm not saying this to necessarily dispute Marc's point, or to rail for Shirov, but simply to make the point that the situation is a mess now. No one looks completely legit now, and in fact it was only a combination of Kasparov's dominance and FIDE's incompetence that made Kasparov and later Kramnik look as legitimate as they did.

But Kasparov's increasing difficulty finding sponsors, the long layoff between the Anand match and the Kramnik match, Shirov getting screwed, Kramnik's subsequent difficulties putting together a new cycle, ANOTHER 4+ year layoff between WC matches, the relative shortness of the match, the fact the Kramnik escaped with his title by the Blessing of Botvinnik's Ghost, and Kramnik's ongoing slide have weakened that claim.

I really believe that if FIDE had continued to run their cycle in the traditional manner, the FIDE Champion would probably be accepted as the legitimate titlest by now. Since Karpov-Kamsky, we could have had three whole cycles by now! Four or five if they had gone to the hated two-year cycle! But FIDE's putzing around with the Knockout Tournament (amongst a great many other items) has removed their legitimacy.

But a decisive win of this tournament would confer definte legitimacy on the winner, especially if followed up with a more traditional cycle. After all, this is (approximately) how Botvinnik got his title. It's not ideal, but neither was the 1948 tournament. All of the strongest players did not play there, either.

Anyway, the best hope (now) is for a convincing Topalov victory this month, a match with Kramnik sometime in the Spring of 2006, and an ongoing cycle to find a challenger for the Champion in two to three years. Barring that, I agree with those that think Kramnik is rapidly sliding towards irrelevancy, and that if FIDE can get its head out of its posterior and put together a decent cycle (don't hold your breathe) we may finally get back to a poiint where we can say, "Oh GM So-and-so is the World Champion. He beat GM Whosis in a 20 game match last year."

Why Topalov's Tournament (if it does indeed continue as it's going) is the best thing the chess world could have hoped for...

1. Any suspicions about the format would be easier to forego if the winner was the highest rated. The best thing for everyone would have been an Anand or Topalov victory. Svidler isn't rated high enough and Leko couldn't convert Kramnik, so it has to be Anand or Topalov all the way. But it would be so much better if it was...

2. Topalov. Why? Several reasons. Anand isn't better now than he's been the past decade or so. Which means he'd always have the shadow of Gazza over him, always be #1 just because Gazza stepped down. But Topalov...

3. ... beat GK in his last ever game, taking the baton out of his hand. And, unlike Anand, he has definitely been improving lately. If, as mobsters say, 'real power cant be given, it must be taken', then Anand was the former, only to be usurped by Topalov, the latter.

4. He will feel like the legitimate WC if he wins this convincingly (which looks highly likely). No one in their right mind would still favour Kramnik over him, who hasn't won a WC match for 5 years in any case. Frankly, I'm not even sure the fans will give a rat's ass about the 'classical' title or 'unification' any more. Topalov will feel like the first legitimate WC Fide has had for over a decade.

5. And then Fide can confidently consider the title back in heir hands. The format should continue, but ONLY to produce a challenger for Topalov's title for a 1 on 1 match to be played a few months later.

Considering GK is the cause of this rupture in the first place, he should do the right thing and formally request his removal from the ratings, letting the new WC formally enjoy the status of World Number 1 as well. And if that happens it will be all but impossible to give Kramnik's title the slightest credence.

Go Topalov!

I completely agree with Colin. IF INDEED Topalov wins this tournament convincingly (as it seems likely to happen), all memories of Kramnik will evaporate.

Topalov would be insane to put his title on the line against Kramnik, unless a really huge purse is set forward (but the sponsors would be even more insane to back Kramnik in his current shape with a huge purse). Topalov should only play against the winner of the next qualification cycle. Period.

Of course this all comes under the assumption he does win by a significant margin. If not, all bets are off.

Oh, please. The chess world at large isn't going to forget about Kramnik if Topo wins big. It also isn't going to ignore Topo if he does win big. Internet posters can spend the rest of their natural lives yammering on about the various champions' legitimacy, but I suspect the bulk of the chess public is sick of the damn mess and just wants to see a unification match to sort it out.

I'm with Buttmonkey!


Uh, I'm not sure that came out the way I wanted....

Forget about Kramnik? You mean the guy who scored 50% in Dortmund or the one who scored -2 in Sofia? To the average chess fan, Kramnik, in his present shape, is an embarrasement, someone who would rather be swept under the rug. The average 1800-level club player will side with Topalov any day, and unification match be damned.

If Topa wins with, let's say, 11/14, proclaims himself to be the only real champion, and proceeds to ignore Kramnik, not many tears will be spilled in chess clubs across the world.

Topalov looks on pace for 6.5/7 . +6 in a 14 round tourney of this level is unbelievable, in 7 rounds, this is set to be the greatest tournament performance ever witnessed.

50% at Dortmund? -2 at Sofia? Count me as one 1800 who would KILL for those kinds of crummy results!

Kramnik will not be forgotten, if only because chessplayers like nothing better than fighting with each other. His title may become irrelavent over time, but there is still LOTS of opportunity for FIDE to make a hash of their situation, especially now that Kirsan has all that extra time on his hands.

Have there been any results yet? I'm stuck at work, and can only see the TWIC updates. It looks to me like we may be headed towards four more decisve results again, although Leko-Adams may end up drawn. To anyone with better info, please share it!

Topalov winning convincingly will help FIDE lay claim to the title. Yes, they could screw it up after that, but they have every chance not to.

The reason why the faltering Kramnik's title is still even mentioned, has been the lack of another World Champion that anyone could take seriously given his A) identity, b) level of competition and c) manner of victory.

All of these concerns can be taken care of in one fell swoop if Topalov continues this run.


Leko won. Moro is going to beat Anand. Topy is going to beat Kasim, I think and Svidler should win as well over Polgar.

Wow. I thought that Leko game would last a while. Well, I always sucked at endgames anyway! Thanks for the update, Petroff!

Topy might only draw now.

Yeah, I'm home now. It doesn't look like Tpos can break through at this point. It looks like Polgar *might* hold on, but maybe the a-pawn will get through.

And what happened to Anand was gruesome! I think that's the most brutal final position of the tournament so far.....

Someone is now claiming that Shredder says that 50 Ra2 is +-. Just like that the worm turns! Topalov seems to be both good and lucky. Gotta be the candado!

Hey, did they make Topalov change tables?

Topalov just won a nice endgame. Reminded me of a famous capablanca-tartakower game, at least the ending part did.


I am eagerly awaiting sacateca's comments about how lucky Topalov is and how Kramnik or Kasparov would undoubtedly crush him in a match.

Still, though everybody can pooh-pooh Kramnik 'til the cows come home, I maintain that the chessworld would love to see Topalov play a match against Kramnik. We would all follow it avidly and the outcome would not be assured by any means.

topalov keeps this up and he's jumping a couple of spots on the rating list... looks likely that he broke 2800 today

In the unification game (if it is going to happen), who do you think will/should get the draw odds? i am afraid that could be an issue the two champs will be unable to agree on. (Or Kramnik might use it as an excuse for not playing Topalov.)


Hmmm....Another nearly perfect scenario for Topalov:

He beats Kasimdzhanov, with a nice grind in a Rook ending. And, Anand loses. True, Svidler beat Polgar, but Vishy is now 3 fully points behind Topalov. Tomorrow, Topalov gets White vs. Leko

Eventually, we'll have to tote up the number of ratings points that Topalov will have gained. Is anybody keeping a running tabulation?

He seems to be a good bet to crack the 2800 barrier. In FIDE's October Rating list, he had dropped a few points at Dortmund, and was listed at 2782. So, if he gains 18 points, he'll reach 2800; if he gains 31 points, he'll surpass Kasparov.

Anand is currently even, which means that he is on pace to lose points, so there could be a considerable ratings gap between Topalov and Anand by the end of the event.

It looks like Leko might also drop behind both Svidler and Ivanchuk.

Good point, zsp. Both sides may wish to give a little on that one, but if Kramnik insists on draw odds, giving Kramnik draw odds could give the challenger a psychological edge because it's saying, "I'm not afraid to play you even though you would win with draw odds." The way Topalov plays, draw odds won't be much of an issue anyway. He'll either win or lose decisively, I'll suggest.

Why are people like Colin McD obsessed with the idea of getting rid of Kramnik without him playing a match? Could it be that they're afraid he would win the match?

One wonders whether Topalov's astronomical Tournament Perforamnce Rating actually went down, even though he duly beat Kasimdzhanov in the 7th round, since Kasimdzhaniv's rating is "only" 2670, nearly 70 points below the average rating for the field.

Despite his loss, which drops him back down to -1, Kasimdhanov is still performing at a TPR that is better than his rating. Morozevich is about breaking even, after beating Anand, even though he is also at -1.

Polgar and Adams are beginning to "bleed out", and the 2nd lap of the event could be rough for them.

I just posted the ChessBase report with Short's commentary.


Doug, if I understand the new game-by-game rating system correctly, that doesn't happen any more.

Great job, Mig. Thanks.

Nigel's report came in around 10 minutes after Kasimdzhanov resigned. I know the post-game press conferences are rarely fascinating, but it would be nice to get something from them for these reports. Frederic and Nadja from ChessBase will arrive in time for the next round, so we should be getting more onsite from the onsite folks soon.

One amusing possible scenario: If Topalov succeeds in beating Anand (which could happen if Anand overpushes as White against him), and if he avoids defeat against any of the other players, he'll have won the "mini-Match" against every one of the other 7 rivals. Almost akin to sweeping through the FIDE Knock-Out World Championship, without ever having to resort to any rapid (or blitz) Tie-Break games.

It's interesting to note that both Anand and Leko are now in their "rightful" place in the Top half of the Crosstable. They are jointly tied for = 3rd, although they are only at "Even" for the event. Each is +2 -2 and =3, for a total of 3.5/7
However, after Round #3, Anand was shraing the lead with Toppy at +2 while Leko was in the cellar -2. How quickly fortunes change! Leko might want to exact a bit of revenge in round 12, when he will have the White pieces vs. Vishy.

using fide's rating calculator with the oct ratings gives topalov a 25 point jump through today... 2807... looks like 10 points for tournament puts him just over 2800... so post tournament ratings may dip him ... 11 points ties him with kasparov... oh what the hell... 13.5 puts him at 2837

zsp said 'In the unification game (if it is going to happen), who do you think will/should get the draw odds?'

I don't think they should have draw odds, though if they must then clearly the classical champion should get them. I would have a set number of games for the match, say 18 or 20, and if it ends even then add 6 more games. If they are still tied after that then I would start the next world title cycle WITH NO CHAMPION. They would forfeit the title by continuing to end in ties.

Does anyone know if Topalov could break Kasparovs "world time high ELO" (is it 2820 or what?) with this tournament alone? What score would it take, then?

I'm a "Kramnik-lover", but there are things that could make me question if it's fair to call Vlad the only legitimate WC. Topalov continuing this tournament the way he has played so far is one thing... 13½/14 would lead to a quite undisputable WC amongst chess fans world over I guess.

There is only one smart thing for Kramnik to do in such a case:

a) congratulate Topalov,
b) ask Topalov and FIDE to recognize Kramnik as a legitimate WC for the period 2000-2005
c) resign
d) ask FIDE to enter him at a very late stage in next cycle.

Jens in Stockholm

No Topalov has no chance of surpassing Kasparov's highest elo which was 2851. He could win the next 7 games and still not come close.
And I don't understand talk of Topalov devaluing Kramnik's title. The only thing a good result does in my mind, is make the winner a truly legitimate challenger to Kramnik's title.

Kramnik has no greater right to call himself the World Chess Champion than does Bobby Fischer...
Noone beat him either...So maybe we should have a Kramnik vs Fischer world title match??


I support you.
I think all Kramnik's fans have to shut up.

Topalov would have to win three or four more tournaments with +6 scores to get to Garry's 2851, even with so many more players over 2700 these days. When Garry cracked 2800 for the first time I think there were only one or two other players over 2700, meaning he had to score +8 or more several times to do it. Now you can get a 2800 performance rating with +4. I.e., the same score against the world's top 10 today is a much higher number. How high is 2851? When Kasparov won clear first at Wijk aan Zee in 2001 over Anand, Kramnik, Adams, Morozevich, Shirov, Ivanchuk, Leko, and Topalov, he LOST rating points!

As with Fischer's towering difference, the only real thing to look at is distance between players, not the pure numbers. In ten years there will be a dozen players over 2800, but it's hard to believe anyone will ever be as far above his contemporaries as Fischer was, or put up massive scores in so many tournaments like Kasparov did. +10 in Tilburg 89, +8 in Belgrade 89, +8 in Belfort 88, then +7 at both Wijk aan Zee and Linares in 99.

Regardless, Topalov's performance in this past week has been one for the ages. His opponents only helped a little, always the case for a streak like this, but 6.5/7 in this field sure isn't luck.

As for a Kramnik match, while technically speaking the margin of victory in San Luis doesn't change anything if you are sticking closely to principle, in the real world it matters. A dominant champ like Topalov will be won't feel the need to prove anything. If he won with an equal +3, he probably would.

Note that with the announcement of the FIDE new cycle, you can claim devotion to a classical title and STILL tell Kramnik to take a hike. I would prefer a match with Kramnik, just for the sake of continuity, not legitimacy. I still believe succession is a powerful thing. But fewer people all the time are going to consider such a match necessary, or even interesting or relevant, and Topalov's +6 will have something to do with that.


Seems that Topalov is expected to score 58% against that level of opposition (4.06 out of 7). He scored 6.5, so he is already due a 24 point boost so 2782 (October rating) plus 24 = 2806.

A good second half could put him over 2820. Whether that is close to Kasparov's peak or not is subjective. Whether that is Topalov's lifetime peak is certainly not obvious. So to say he has 'no chance of surpassing' Kasparov's peak - true for this event, not generally true, and certainly not relevant.

It makes Topalov the currently strongest player in the world active, recently inactive (e.g. Kasparov), and long-inactive (e.g. Fischer) included.

Why should he prove anything vis a vis Kramnik? Kramnik and Kasparov invented their own title, the outcome was less than stunning, it was a very long time ago, and Kramnik's results have been declining.

Kramnik could challenge for the newly legitimized FIDE world title, hopefully by going through the normal procedures. Why should Topalov (or whoever wins this current event) play for the Kramnik unofficial expired title?

Because Kramnik holds the title Kasparov held in 2000, which was the title Kasparov held in 1993, which was the title he won from Karpov in 1985, etc. They didn't make it up.

I'm not a jihadist on this stuff anymore, mind you, but that's how the theory goes. A lack of qualifiers on the classical side starting in 2000 and a lack of rigor with the FIDE KO's decreased the value of any and every title. I'm not happy with casually discarding Kramnik, but it is up to him to make something happen; that's the burden of basically being a one-man title. Kasparov got away with it because he was so obviously the #1 player and because FIDE was a mess. Now FIDE is getting its act together and Kramnik is #7 on the rating list. If he can't put anything together, with or without FIDE, he will be ignored until he can.

Where do you guys come up with this stuff about inventing titles or that Kramnik and Kasparov did not have legitimate titles? I guess you know absolutely nothing about chess history!

FIDE has not been around forever. Going back to the first world champions, they often ducked the strongest opposition and [i]picked their own opponents[/i]! You still call them world champions. It is hypocritical to call Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, etc., world champions but not recognize Kramnik. You are flat-out ignoring all of chess history and tradition.

When Fischer blew everyone away in amazing fashion, did you see people saying, 'Hey, Fischer must be the real world champion'? No way! The world knew who the real champion was regardless of how well Fischer performed, everyone knew that he still had to beat the world champion in a match before he could claim the title. Get real people!

that endgame by Topy was amazing, truly brilliant. I was certain it was drawn a few times, only for the quality man to conjure up something else. This is Chess you can only dream about. Exactly what's needed, because after all, the interest of Chess is in the competition, about gladiators fighting it out till the end, not an academic exercise in pattern recognition. Topalov displays an ability to almost taunt his opponents, like Ali in his heyday, or Maradona calling the shots from the midfield at will. Sad though it is for Anand, think he has been surpassed, wasnt sure till now, but he doesnt seem to be able to exhibit his past dominance. Really didnt dare hope for such a powerful performance from anybody, its almost too good to be true. Of course he has to continue this for a good few years to scale the heights of GK, but he sure has the will and now shows he may have the ability too...

Another defeat for Adams. I really think he needs to change his strategy in this tournament. He's the only player who hasn't won a game. Why doesn't he try playing the Scandinavian or Alekhines defence with black instead of keep going into all the Petrov/Ruy Lopez theory? It must be so easy for the others to prepare for Adams the way he plays. Just play something different Micky!

mig and knight tour, re titles and all that, there is a nice quotation by short in his latest report which is relevant; i.e. when the facts change, change your mind. Sometimes you have to accept that things change a little bit, when old formats and traditions are no longer applicable. Yes, past world champions often dodged their strongest opponents, but in the modern era, there was a rigourous system of qualifiers set up, so that whoever was the CHALLENGER, was the toughest cookie around. If he did win the title match, he could bask in the advantages offered by his new title (to name one, a right to a rematch, which was how Botvinnik held on for so long). But the point is, you got to become the WC not after one lucky victory in a match, but only after you had really, REALLY proved yourself even before you started playing the match. Kramnik didnt, not by the longest stretch of imagination of even the nuttiest posters on this blog. When he won, yes he got a legitimate title, purely because his opponent was the strongest player in history. However he needed to legitimize it to some extent, because many of the ingredients that go to make the succession cast iron was missing in his case. This necessity only increased with time, until it got to the point where he had almost conceded his title by a variety of facors; lacklustre play, his obvious avoidance of GK, and others. Please understand, in the case of a legitmate challenger, this would not have mattered, but in his case it did matter. So I think we need to adjust our thinking in light of the revised situation. Topalov is the WC.

You conveniently forget to mention that Kramnik DID defend his title against a legitimate contender- Leko.

You say that things change, but things have only changed for the worse so far with FIDE under Kirsan. He completely devalued chess with his rapid time controls and a so-called world championship run as a speed competition, knock-out tournament. What a joke! And people have the nerve to call Anand, Pono, Kasim, etc. world champions. It makes me very sad for the future of chess.

You can't let new facts spin you around every week, either. As I said, I'm no longer a staunch defender of Kramnik's title for the reasons listed above. But Topalov's winning a round-robin in impressive fashion doesn't make him a classical champion any more than his equal first at Linares did. It makes him FIDE champion because that's what FIDE is calling this tournament. All good, and it has a practical effect on the situation, but simply dumping Kramnik is a bit harsh.

This tournament was to unify the title before a real cycle finally got underway. If there was nothing to unify, why bother? They could have gone straight to the World Cup in December with Kasimdzhanov as WCh. By forcing Kramnik to either play or opt out of San Luis, FIDE gets to say he had his chance and that's it. Of course he saw no reason to play since he defended his own title a year ago.

If Kramnik shows up with a few million dollars for a unification match and either FIDE or the FIDE champion refuses, we still have a split in my view. If he can't put that together in the next year, and FIDE gets its classical cycle off the ground, Kramnik will be out of the picture. There is no need to "decide" anything here; it will or won't happen on its own.

d, that is some good points. Here are some other points:

When Kramnik was picked to challenge Kasparov, he was indeed one of the toughest cookies around, ratingwise and regarding qualified guesses at chances of beating Kasparov. One can regret that Shirov was not given the chance, or Anand, but that was the state of the world of chess at that time. So Kasparov-Kramnik was a logical (from a practical point of view) way to proceed the old tradition of WC matches.

After that match, I believe Kramnik was entirely justified not to grant Kasparov a return match, but trying to rely on some sort of qualification process instead. It was simply the terms before the Kaspy-Kramnik match. So Kramnik was not "avoiding" Kasparov, he was asking Kasparov and everybody else to qualify for a match instead. A constructive approach.

This approach nearly worked out with the Prague agreement. Kramnik did everything reasonable, arranging and winning his match against Leko (who qualified via Dortmund ahead of Anand btw), and the rest was up to FIDE, Kaspy, and Ponomariov.

So, FIDE decided otherwise. But what has KRAMNIK done not to deserve his title claim then?

The ONLY factual circumstance that Kramnik bashers refer to is his bad results since the Leko match. It's very hard for me to take that seriously. It's ONE year of results, and they think Kramnik cannot ever play chess at the highest level again?

And since when was tournament domination a precondition for keeping a WC? Botvinnik for one didn't dominate the chessworld in the sixties, but he did win his WC matches and was considered THE champ.

So, in short, Kramnik's title cannot be dismissed. OK, he refused to play in San Luis, but then, NO OTHER world champ has ever been asked to defend his crown in a double round robin
tournament or something similar. The insistance that he should have done that anyway rings hollow in view of Kramnik's successful match against Leko. He did what was asked and planned for, and what an other champ in history has done to preserve his title.

Neither can Topalov's FIDE title be dismissed, if he wins in San Luis. It's also a fair title all the way.

Conclusion is we have two WCs. They both have valid claims to the validity of their title.

Unification of the titles can only be done in a process that involves both players. Simply stripping Kramnik from his title (even adding insult by referring to one single year of tournament results) would be a shame in a historical sense.

Yes Mig, you are right, in the end it all depends on whether Kramnik can fairly quickly find sponsors for a challenge vs. the FIDE champ.

If he doesn't, I just hope he will not be dellusioned and abandon chess altogether, but instead find a honorable way into whatever format will be established by FIDE.

I just want to say that I think it's appropriate for the chess community to be discussing the merits of a possible match with Kramnik. The most popular opinion seems to be that it will happen if Kramnik can find a sponsor. It is also clear that most people would like to see this match being played if it can get a sponsor. Well, it makes tremendous sense for someone to sponsor the event because the event itself would be seen as a very legitimate match, if both parties would agree to play it and we are told they likely would if the prize fund were large enough. One more thing: Perhaps a challenger for the FIDE presidency might have an opinion about this that differs from Ilyumzhinov's. Note to friends of convivial grandmasters: Why doesn't someone like Joel Lautier or Yasser Seirawan or Susan Polgar run for the FIDE presidency, a chessplayer respected by other chessplayers and someone without the baggage of Karpov and Ilyumzhinov?

Even i must admit that Toppy's play has been of higher standards than mere luck in the last few rounds. He will be a very worthy contender for WC title, and if he can introduce more quality to his play, which he will have to do in order to beat someone as solid as Kramnik in a match, he has very good chances of winning, and becoming a very legitimate WC.

i also agree that Kramnik would have been a fool to put his title on the line in a fickle double round robin tournament. And that he needs to defend his title quite quickly against the winner of this tournament, or Kasparov :)

Btw, while Kramnik didn't play phenomenally in Euro Club Cup but better than recently in other events, his games were much better already, so he could be getting back to form.

As for Adams...i am very sympathetic towards him and hope he will be able to score at least 3 wins to bring him to even score on the second half. There's no justice if he ends up with negative score, and i will certainly attribute it to bad luck (or bad opening preparation..)

Chess Base is already crowning Topalov as the new Champion of the World.
I really hope he makes it.
But Svidler is only 2 points behind!
A loss for Topalov now and a new win for Svidler
wll make the race wide open again.
Nerves and stress can hit Topalov the closer he gets to the title.
Only 7 rounds to go. But anything can happen.
A 4 times winner of the russian championship
has proven a very strong nerve system.

Only two points?! With just seven rounds to go that's huge. If Topalov just draws the rest of his games Svidler has to win four and not lose just to draw even!

I have limited knowledge of the chess world in general. I do enjoy reading well thought out discussions here. Topalov is ripping up the competion and continuing to do so is well within reason. But some of these other players are quite able if they get their act together to make a tournament out of it (with some help from Topalov). If Topalov wins decisively, Kramnik better get busy if he wants to remain relivant. And yes Kasparov-Topalov!

It's good to see Morozovich 'the independent' winning a beautiful game against the world's best authority in Caro Kann (aside from Anatoly Evgenivich). Possibly the best game of the Championship. You can't help feeling bad for Vishi with two losses (mate in one by Kasim) and pretty forced end from Sasha.

Toppy will surely win the title here, but Anand can perhaps extract some consolation by beating the new world champ in their mini-match...offcourse it wont be easy since Toppy has Black... :)

I think Kasparov is just waiting for the dust to settle and perhaps in a year or so when we have a single world chess champion one way or the other (ie, Kramnik-Topalov or Kramnik slipping out of the top ten)..he can return and win the title again...however I doubt Garry would play in any qualification system even then

I think by then it will be "screw the title, let's have a match!" It would be like Deep Blue coming out of its box. No title on the line, just the greatest ever against the current champ in a short match. I bet that wouldn't have trouble finding sponsorship a few years down the line.

alkelele, sorry your argument is full of holes. "When Kramnik was picked to challenge Kasparov, he was indeed one of the toughest cookies around, ratingwise and regarding qualified guesses at chances of beating Kasparov." So you simultaneously use a point if it supports your argument, but discard the same if it detracts from your argument? The whole point of the qualifiers was that it was not subjective. It depended neither on rating, nor on a perceived qualified guess as to the chances of beating the incumbent. Lack of rigour is a great reason when dismissing Topalov's claim to the title, but doesnt apply when discussing Kramnik's legitimacy as a challenger? Wow, that's great. I think I personally dislike Kramnik so much because of his hypocrisy in this regard; not a peep when the chance to challenge lands in his lap after he had manifestly demonstrated he was not qualified to do so by losing to Kamsky and Shirov, but gets on a very high horse when the situation is reversed. You choose to call it constructive. Well no accounting for taste I guess. But that's neither here nor there. To briefly answer your other points, well you make my points frankly. Botvinnik? How does Botvinnik's situation compare with Kramnik's??? And organised a qualifier?? When did he do that? Since when is declaring the winner of a preorganised tournament with limited attendance by the world's elite the qualifier organising a qualifier? And it wasnt difficult for Leko to qualify ahead of Anand, as he didnt play.

Finally I have to say again how I really like your reasoning: "One can regret that Shirov was not given the chance, or Anand, but that was the state of the world of chess at that time." Oh the state of World Chess was it that gave Kramnik the right? Oh I see.

And Mig, nobody said new facts need to change something every week. This would be the first time in decades there is a fundamental change.

No, not having a qualification cycle in 2000 was a fundamental change. Huge. Nor was there a cycle in 2003, only "better than nothing" Dortmund. But there were long matches with very respectable challengers, and that is the core of the classical title. I don't think anyone is saying Kramnik now has the validity of Kasparov in 1993, or even Kasparov in 2000 or Kramnik himself in 2001.

As I said, it's an interesting debate, but we don't settle anything. If Kramnik can put together sponsorship for a match and FIDE and its champion agree, he has de facto legitimacy. If he cannot, we can mourn the loss of the classical line, but also admit that it was terribly weakened by the time it died.

Mig, the way Topalov has been playing this year, he can be a serious contender for 'greatest player ever' title (say, in about five years' time...if he can this going)

His style of play (in this tournament atleast) seems to have quite a few similarities with that of Garry..note his use of both 1)e4 and 1)d4 with White...Anand played both moves himself aroung 1998 when there was a big rating gap between #3 and #4 in the world......maybe use of both e4/d4 is an indicator of good form or superior chess strength..

Five years for "best ever"? You sell that title cheaply! If he puts up +5 or +6 for the next, oh, 15 years, then we can have this discussion. Plenty of time...

It is very interesting that Topalov has blossomed like this, however. He was always a strong permanent member of the security council, so to speak, but I don't think it's a coincidence that this leap comes with Kasparov's retirement. As Garry put it, some of them feel like a giant boulder in the road is finally gone. It's tough to work so terribly hard when you know the best you can hope for is #2. Topalov needed that obstacle out of the way to reach his potential. Ironically, he is now playing at a level where he could be a real match for Kasparov.

Mig, its a fundamental change if you accept that Kramnik became the World Champion. I dont. He just beat the great Kasparov in a match. Many people apply rigour selectively, i.e. only when it suits their argument. Its not just a match defense of the title that's part of rigour, its the whole process of narrowing down candidates. To me the latter is as important, actually more so than the former. Although it was by no means ideal, this tournament is much better than handpicking a candidate because it well, handpicked several candidates. Would have been better if the minimatches consisted of 4 instead of 2 games, but you cant have everything.

There are two matches that will get sponsers lining up for miles: Topolov-Kasparov, Karpov-Fischer.

Kramnik-'anyone'-? It is going to take some committment from the European Central Bank...

5 years of several sanluisian (i think we will need a new word to describe a ~13/14 score..) performances..including a win over Garry..will have me convinced.
Mig, Garry dominated for 15+ years...but for how many years was Fischer the clear #1, not counting his inactive period?

No praise high enough for Moro. Knew he would produce a gem if I waited long enough. To me he's the purest talent (not the best) in Chess since the late great magician from Riga.

d, interesting counterarguments. My main points are that it is not reasonable to blame Kramnik for the fact that FIDE ditched the Prague agreement, and neither is it reasonable to strip him of a world champion title with a long heritage only on account of a year of inferious tournament results. I consider the winner of San Luis a worthy FIDE world champ, and just hope that he will play Kramnik so the line of continuity can be preserved and the mess be cleared once and for all.

Please let me address your post systematically to try and clear up some misunderstandings:

>>alkelele, sorry your argument is full of holes.

Thank you, if you can demonstrate that, you don't need to tell me in advance :-)

>>[Alkelele: "When Kramnik was picked to challenge Kasparov, he was indeed one of the toughest cookies around, ratingwise and regarding qualified guesses at chances of beating Kasparov."] So you simultaneously use a point if it supports your argument, but discard the same if it detracts from your argument?

No, I was simply addressing your argument that in modern times, the cycle ensured that a WC challenger was the toughest cookie around. In 2000, there was no cycle, but a match was long overdue, and Kramnik fit the bill of being one of the toughest cookies around. The Kasparov-Kramnik match was not an ideal solution, but there were few if any PRACTICAL alternatives.

>>The whole point of the qualifiers was that it was not subjective. It depended neither on rating, nor on a perceived qualified guess as to the chances of beating the incumbent.

Which is a great argument for the need of a formal cycle, but not an argument against the Kasparov-Kramnik match being the best of the options available at the time.

>>Lack of rigour is a great reason when dismissing Topalov's claim to the title, but doesnt apply when discussing Kramnik's legitimacy as a challenger? Wow, that's great.

If you read my post again, you will see that I never dismissed Topalov's claim to a FIDE WC title, just the contrary. Besides, as Mig put it, the core of the classical title are long matches with very respectable challengers. This is not an argument of rigour, it's an argument of tradition.

>>I think I personally dislike Kramnik so much because of his hypocrisy in this regard; not a peep when the chance to challenge lands in his lap after he had manifestly demonstrated he was not qualified to do so by losing to Kamsky and Shirov, but gets on a very high horse when the situation is reversed.

Fine points, but irrelevant if there wasn't a practically realizable alternative to the Kasparov-Kramnik match. And still, Kramnik was second in rating at that time and had excellent results against Kaspy, and hence fit the traditonal bill of being a tough cookie and respectable challenger. You can cry from now on and until doomsday that Kramnik had no "right" or was "not qualified", but he was a worthy challenger, made manifestly clear by that fact that he actually beat Kasparov.

>>You choose to call it constructive. Well no accounting for taste I guess. But that's neither here nor there.

Yes, insisting on trying to build a cycle according to the prematch deal is constructive in my view. Kramnik actually succeeded quite well after some initial problems, since he signed the Prague agreement and played his part in it. No high horse there, even Kasparov was offered a good part in the act. What would NOT have been constructive was playing a Kasparov-Kramnik rematch offering no perspective of unification with FIDE and no formal WC-cycle in view.

>>To briefly answer your other points, well you make my points frankly. Botvinnik? How does Botvinnik's situation compare with Kramnik's???

They were both WCs, and both failed to dominate tournament chess following match defenses. In the end, Botvinnik didn't play much at all except for his WC matches as far as I know. And if Botvinnik doesn't fill the bill of being non-dominant following title-defenses, other WCs surely does.

>>And organised a qualifier?? When did he do that?

Once again, read a bit more carefully. I never said he organised a qualifier, I said he arranged a match with Leko in accordance with the Prague agreement, and that Leko qualified for that match in what Mig calls "better than nothing" Dortmund.

>>Since when is declaring the winner of a preorganised tournament with limited attendance by the world's elite the qualifier organising a qualifier?

Again, nobody said Kramnik organised a qualifier. He did however take part in organising a good agreement (Prague) for reunification of the WC title with plans for a subsequent cycle format, and "Dortmund as qualifier against Kramnik" was a pragmatic step in that direction. And whatever the drawbacks of using Dortmund as a qualifier were, Leko as challenger still fit perfectly the bill of being one hell of a tough cookie around in accordance with the classical WC tradition.

>>And it wasnt difficult for Leko to qualify ahead of Anand, as he didnt play.

My bad, but that doesn't change the fact that Leko was more than a worthy challenger. Again, there WAS no cycle, so you have to use second best options, and hope for a better future, which was exactly what Prague was all about.

>>Finally I have to say again how I really like your reasoning: "One can regret that Shirov was not given the chance, or Anand, but that was the state of the world of chess at that time." Oh the state of World Chess was it that gave Kramnik the right? Oh I see.

Only you are the one talking about "rights". My argument is based on tradion AND pragmatism. Kramnis was and is a worthy classical WC, conquering and defending his title in accordance with the classical tradition. Topalov looks destined to become a worthy FIDE WC, and I just hope that they will play a match so that the line of continuity is not broken, and everything is cleared up once and for all.

And I hope just as much as you that a formal qualifier cycle for the coming WC matches is established along with such an event. Where we seem to disagree is on whether Kramnik could become WC by beating Kasparov, but without going through a formal qualification process first. I think he could and did, since 1-1 matches are the core of the classical title, AND, there was no alternative at the time. Now we may have an alternative if FIDE gets something good going, but why not include Kramnik in that process (while respecting that he is the "old" classical champ and deserves a 1-1 shot at defending his title) to ensure continuity?

Frankly, to me a Kramnik-Topalov match seems a no-brainer, the only question is whether it can be realized. If it doesn't, and FIDE succeeds in building a good cycle, I agree that we one day have to accept that Kramnik's title is no longer relevant. Maybe it was thinking along these lines that made Korchnoi say that he just felt that Kramnik should have participated in San Luis, a kind of intuitional guess that it was the most probable way that continuity could be preserved and Kramnik lose of defend his title in a somewhat acceptable way.

All the best.

Thanks, Mig, for that comment by GK on the "boulder in the road". I think that does explain a lot.

sacateca, if you think Topalov needs "more quality to his play" to beat Kramnik in a match, I must disagree. I think the level of play Topalov is demonstrating in this tournament should suffice...

Ok, let us say: Only one loss for Svidler in the second half and he is out. Topa can cruise it home.

alkele, if you see similarities between Botvinnik and Kramnik that are germane to the discussion of whether or not Kramnik is a legitimate WC, there's no point continuing this. cheers mate

d, similarities between Botvinnik and Kramnik are germane to the discussion once people use Kramnik's recent inferiour results as an argument that Kramnik should no longer be considered WC. It's just to show that this kind of logic has not been applied to former WCs, and hence it is not obviously fair to apply it to Kramnik.

Sorry if you find this observation so outrageously stupid. I didn't even make up this comparison on my own, I've seen it several times from posters that are undoubtedly much wiser than me. Really, we can't all be that stupid.

However, I am happy that this discussion has clarified the reason you think Kramnik was never WC: because he never qualifed through a formalised cycle.

I respect that point of view, and I respectfully disagree, as carefully explained with references to the WC tradition and the actual state of affairs as they were. Would be nice if you could write your posts in the same respectful manner.

And cheers to you too.

For all the fools who think the chess scene started in the last couple of years:
from www.chessgames.com

"Overall record: Vladimir Kramnik beat Veselin Topalov 19 to 9, with 33 draws"

And this are not youngers anymore. Topalov is going through a streak of good results in the last years or so, but we must to remember that he cannot pass through Leko inthat qualifier (That Mig, as always, is trying to minimize. No surprise here.) We sould remeber also how easily he was defeated in the supertourneys a couple of years ago. He even wasn't invited to them for some time. How can anyone forget the miniature in 22 he suffered against Shirov with the Perenyi Attack. Of course you can, because many learn to meve the pieces some months ago.

Kramnik is career +5 against Topalov in long time control games, although Topalov is +1 this year, with two wins, a loss, and a draw. As for the last couple of years, they are much more relevant for predicting results than going back ten years. Topalov is obviously playing much better chess in 2005 than he has ever played and Kramnik has been playing worse every year since 2001.

Why should there be a surprise? Dortmund 2003 wasn't a qualifier, it was an annual tournament with a qualifier tag slapped onto it. All the BS about fighting for democracy and the rest of the world's GMs was shown for the lip service it was.

Topalov defeated easily? Not invited? Just making stuff up now. Along with Leko, he's been the most consistent member of the top ten other than the former Big Three. And if you are putting a lot of importance on a short loss, maybe you should look at Kramnik's recent games instead.

alkele, its difficult to respond when you:
A - have no logic
B - write reams and reams of text.
Brevity is the soul of efficiency me friend, try it once or twice! And please dont lecture me on being "disrespectful"; I am always to the point, you're not. As for being stupid, you said it, not me.. its a case of wearing the cap if it fits.

d, you are the one having problems with logic. First you write in one post:

"When he [Kramnik] won, yes he got a legitimate title, purely because his opponent was the strongest player in history."

and later you write in another post:

"Mig, its a fundamental change if you accept that Kramnik became the World Champion. I dont. He just beat the great Kasparov in a match."

Somehow I fail to see how those two points of view are logically consistent.

The core of your first arguments were:

"However he [Kramnik] needed to legitimize it [the WC title] to some extent, because many of the ingredients that go to make the succession cast iron was missing in his case. This necessity only increased with time, until it got to the point where he had almost conceded his title by a variety of facors; lacklustre play, his obvious avoidance of GK, and others."

I addressed exactly those two points in detail, by comparing with Botninnik and other previous champs, and by pointing out how Kramnik's actions have been quite reasonable following his match with Kasparov, ie. entering the Prague agreement giving Kasparov a fair part in the act, and conducting a respectable title defense against Leko (that another poster rightly pointed out that you conveniently forgot to mention).

And then, you began the noble game of moving goal poasts. Now, suddenly Kramnik was actually never champ in your view because he had not gone through a formal cycle of qualification. Then, when the issue was raised of, what was the alternative, now suddenly was the issue for you that I do not understand logic and am too stupid for you because I mention Botvinnik. And further on, now my posts are too long, it is apparently too difficult for you to distill the essence and give an appropriate response.

Sorry, but you are delusional. In the process of debating, you even come up with obviously false and self-contradictionary claims like "This would be the first time in decades there is a fundamental change [regarding Topalov winning San Luis]". Just in order to move the goal post once again. Whenever I (or Mig in that case) address your arguments, you ignore them and move on to something else.

THAT is a pointless way of discussing. Trying to save your day with smartass comments about my logical or literary abilites only goes to show how far seperated from reality you are.

Bye, or is it "cheers mate".

yes, he got a legitimate title: "Provisional World Champion - to be validated". As for pointless ways of discussing, You're the one breaking the rules of the blog, not me. No personal comments, no insults. I havent insulted you, you have insulted me, and yourself too actually. You call yourself stupid, and then get annoyed. Not my problem. As for Botvinnik's case being different, let me try a tactic I use in my class when a student asks a question, the answer to which is self explanatory. Here we go... think a little bit, why do YOU think the two cases might be different? If you're still confused scroll back and read the lecture err.. blog notes..

And please dont be so pathetic as to gather other people to your argument by proxy. Thanks, Respectfully yours, d.

Peace. I've made my point, you've made yours, we'll sleep on it, and tomorrow we'll be friends again!

PS. I rooted for Kaspy in his match vs. Kramnik, I love Morozevich, I rooted for Topalov prior to San Luis, I hope it will all be worked out and a good solid qualification cycle will be established. Actually we may not disagree all that much alltogether :-) We are who we are, so let's make the best of it and just enjoy the option to interact with people from all over the world.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 5, 2005 10:19 AM.

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