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Kamsky Speaks

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Well, somebody should. US #1 Gata Kamsky has written an open letter about FIDE's recent last-minute changes to the 2005-07 championship cycle. Many of his comments have been addressed here, including the travesty of seeding half the players into the matches and another group into the final instead of qualifying. He also points out the typically unrealistic October 31 FIDE deadline for players to send in their contracts. That leaves no room for debate at all, despite FIDE's claims that these changes were influenced by discussions with the San Luis players and the ACP. None of the players I've talked to so far could confirm this, but of course it makes sense for the super-elite in San Luis to be in favor of rating seeds.

What is alarming, and highlighted by Kamsky's comments, is how few players say anything about such irresponsible and disrespectful behavior from FIDE. The ACP is supposed to be a player voice but has said nothing officially about whether or not they approve of FIDE's sudden change to make the cycle much less democratic. They've posted brief comments by Khalifman, who is sage as always. Was the ACP co-opted into this? The ACP is at least acting as though they - and most of their members - did not know about the changes in advance. This is just the sort of thing they should jump on, and at least they need to clarify how much they were involved in this process. Bizarrely, the ACP website reproduces the FIDE release verbatim, including the part that says the changes considered discussions with the ACP! No comment?!

Update: FIDE has added a baffling reply at the bottom of the same article. I don't see how it can be called transparency if nobody talked about the changes before they were announced. We don't expect transparency from FIDE, sadly, but if there were talks the ACP should have kept us up to date. As for 10 players versus 5, that's good news money-wise to an extra five players, but it's a misleading statistic when it comes to having a fair shot at the title. You could put 100 players into candidate matches and the bottom line is it's still for only four spots in the final while four others are dropped in free of charge from San Luis. Why should the San Luis players get such a huge jump up the ladder, especially since almost all of them were invited there without qualifying to begin with? If we are stuck with a tournament instead of matches, there must be seven qualifiers plus Topalov and the ACP should fight for this. And Topalov gets to keep his lucky chair, but that's as far as I'll go.

Update 2: ChessBase has moved things around and added a separate item with FIDE's response with a reply to that by Kamsky. As mentioned below, FIDE's idea of transparency doesn't include telling the players actually IN the World Cup about all these changes made before giving them one week to sign on.

There a nice official website for the World Cup. Round 1 is on November 27. With Topalov's withdrawal from the field, first reserve Nigel Short is in.


Speaking of that website....are they on dialup or something? I don't know if there's a lot of traffic but it's taking ages for all the images on that page to come down....

Dunno. It's being hosted at fide.com and there might be domain redirect things going on.

A point (curiously!) neglected by Mig: Kamsky isn't saying a single thing against the final San-Luis type tournament to decide the World Champion! He just disagrees that 5 players are directly seeded to the Candidates by rating...

Why curiously? Your obsessions are not mine, nor Kamsky's. He didn't address Kramnik's legitimacy or Topalov's facial hair either. As I've said many times, while they certainly have preferences about format, most players just want a fair shot. Dumping the long match for a tournament actually improves the chances of everyone but the top two or three players in the world to win. But cutting the number of qualifiers in half is an absolute crime against ALL the players.

hmm look at Fide's reply. As somebody who has limited time to spend analysing all the statements brought out by the various parties.. what gives folks? who's right, and who's wrong? Any executive summaries pls? thanks

According to a FIDE response at Chessbase this morning:

1. There will be 10 players qualifying from the World Cup, not 5, so that argument is moot. The first stage of the candidates now becomes 16 players: 10 from the world cup, 5 by rating, and the previous World Cup winner (Kasimjanov). Some sequence between these 16 ends up producing 4 qualifiers, who go on to meet with the 4 from San Luis.

2. They DID consult with both the ACP and the San Luis participants before making the announcement.


Now you can argue about whether consulting with the ACP is enough in terms of representing the next tier of GMs (those who weren't in San Luis, but are likely to have a chance ot qualify), but if all true, it does seem a little less "out of hte blue" than it did.

The biggest difference remains the shift from a series of head to head matches to a single round robin to award the title.

The question is whether or not they consulted and then did whatever they wanted. This is why we need to hear from the ACP about whether or not they approved of this format change and allowing four players to go directly into the tournament final. I don't understand why the ACP has kept these conversations secret from its members. Did they have any influence at all?

As for consulting the San Luis players, it's not a bad idea to consult (in the open), but as Kasparov and Karpov showed us, having the super-elite help write the rules behind the scenes is rarely good for the rest. That's why transparency is always #1. We don't expect it from FIDE, but the ACP needs to keep people informed if they are in talks. Or, if the talks weren't substantial, let us know that too.

Added this to the item:

Update: FIDE has added a baffling reply at the bottom of the same article. I don't see how it can be called transparency if nobody talked about the changes before they were announced. We don't expect transparency from FIDE, sadly, but if there were talks the ACP should have kept us up to date. As for 10 players versus 5, that's a misleading statistic when it comes to having a shot at the title. You could put 100 players into candidate matches and the bottom line is it's still for only four spots in the final while four others are dropped in free of charge from San Luis. Why should the San Luis players get such a huge jump up the ladder, especially since they got invited there without qualifying to begin with. If we are stuck with a tournament instead of matches, there must be seven qualifiers plus Topalov and the ACP should fight for this. And Topalov gets to keep his lucky chair, but that's as far as I'll go.

Mig, I will enter your game and play a little bit with numbers.

You said that "FIDE is cutting the number of qualifiers in half". I can say that FIDE increased the number of qualifiers by 300% (4 qualifiers for the world title instead of 1 if it was a head-to-head match).

What's the point of all this anti-FIDE paranoia? Isn't this system producing sponsorship and interest for chess? FIDE should be judged by the effectiveness of their policies (=sponsorship) and not by anyone's wish list.

Yes, we should all shut up and never criticize or comment as long as FIDE succeeds by any single metric. Is there an emoticon for a stiff arm salute? One day I'll put up a page of all the comments here that call me pro-FIDE and anti-FIDE. I'm pro thinking for yourself according to the circumstances at hand. I support actions, not organizations. I've been very supportive of FIDE's good moves in the past year regarding unification and a return to classical chess, for example.

No, some things are better than other things. More players move from the World Cup into the next round, true. But this doesn't mean they have a better chance at winning the title than before. At the end of the day all the qualifiers are met by an equal number of non-qualifiers, which is not only wrong, but totally unnecessary.

I'm again obliged to quote you Mig: "At the end of the day all the qualifiers are met by an equal number of non-qualifiers, which is not only wrong, but totally unnecessary".

Isn't it the same with a head-to-head match? One qualifier against one non-qualifier, or not?

You also agree that "More players move from the World Cup into the next round, true". So what's the real point of Kamsky's complaint? Maybe only political reasons because the USCF wants to suppport Karpov in the next FIDE elections?

The point of my comment is this, if they announced certain rules and started the cycle, complete the cycle under same rules and don't change a thing. 2nd point is nobody should be allowed direct seeding into Candidates Matches, except world champion, and world champion contender. It's quite very simple.

I'm very proud that my question received a reply directly from Gata Kamsky! :-)

Gata, leave the politics aside and just play your best! Chess needs super GMs like you back to the arena! Let the ACP do the politics and watch their ratings go down... :-)

I dont know.

I see a lot of complaining about FIDE.

I dont think FIDE even cares what anyone thinks.

FIDE is consolidating all power unto itself.

Changing the rules all the time and having people accept the changes is one way for FIDE to consolidate all power unto itself. it is simple psychology. keep abusing the underlings and as long as they keep accepting the abuse it makes the abuser more powerful. the abused become less and less capable of standing up for themselves.

I see this happening as more and more people slowly are saying to accept what FIDE is doing.

All Hail the FIDE furer. click click the heels. raise your arm to the FIDE furer. Bow down and pledge allegance to our leader. now we all shout out in unison. Almighty furer come abuse us some more. make us submit to your will.

Throw us some money at a tournament and we will follow you anywhere, do anything you ask, and support you in all your desires.

Hail the all powerful FIDE furer.

If the top 4 San Luis finishers get into the next championship tournament, then Morozevich will play for the 2007 championship simply because he played good chess in 2003 and 2004. This is a joke.

Well, in the ”Nunn-plan” for WC the 8 players in the finale are qualified by rating and activity bonus. Fide do have a qualification cycle, which gives all a chance to play themselves into the final 8.

My guess is that the cycle 2007 – 2009 will have a simpler qualification system. To repeat one of Nunn`s practical points, it is more difficult to find sponsorship for a qualifier than for a finale.

Anyway, at least all 8 have to qualify for the finale. 4 from the qualifying cycle, and 4 from results in the last finale. One advantage of having 4 qualifiers from the finale, is that there are more to play for in the finale. In San Luis there was excitement to the last round.

All of the comments that the ACP has posted on their site (by Shirov and Khalifman) have been unequivocally negative about FIDE's new plan. This leads me to believe that the FIDE style of "consultation" is something like, "Here's what's going to happen; do you wish to protest and lose your career or go along and make Papa Ilzhuminov happy? Thanks for talking with us!"

G cube, Morozevich should have a permanent invitation to any WC cycle!!! Now that Kaspy has retired, he's the only hope for exhibitions of pure genius on the board!! OK, maybe Ivanchuk as well..

Correct me if i'm wrong, but the top 4 luis players won't be playing in the world cup right? because they have already qualified?

the old interzonal system was better. i wish they would go back to that.

Since they are all qualified by rating they can play. Topalov has already opted out, we'll see if Anand, Svidler, and Morozevich do.

I agree with Gata's post above that the worst part of this - because opinion is clearly divided on just about all the changes themselves - is that they were made so late and without clear lines of communications with the 128 players who were already qualified. Just not on, as the Brits say. Not kosher.

Because of that I've probably been too harsh on the changes themselves, although I'm dismayed at the loss of a final match and baffled by the decision to give three extra players a free ride to the final match.

Expanding the number of players coming out of the World Cup is a good thing in and of itself. But now they are playing for four spots in a final tournament. I hope the next level matches are of a decent length, say eight games. If not, it's basically just an extension of the tournament and hardly anything special, which would render the "ten players qualify" argument a bunch of smoke.

Can't keep up with the comments... Giannis makes a useful point above that, while half serious, illustrates why the ACP or something like it is so necessary. Chess pros are total freelancers. They fight for every dollar, get little or no support from federations and no consistent sponsorship. You eat what you kill. Having then to fight for rights against full-time politicians is ridiculous and hopeless. It's also a huge distraction from playing chess. This is why the leaders of professional sports players' unions are usually retired players who can concentrate on the issues.

So, Mig, regarding the content of the changes, what is your bottomline take on ideological level on the removal of the final match and replacing it with the tournament? And why?
Just curious, since you've mostly talked about the pragmatic side of things so far and not commented (or do you not want to stick your neck out, so to say?) one way or the other on this level.

What's the matter with the ACP. First they started with great intention of helping the players. Now they seem to become a sister org. of FIDE. No one seems to trust it anymore. What a shame ACP.

Oh, I've said plenty to make my opinions known over the years, and in the Oct 25th item. I think long final matches are good for chess for many reasons. They are dramatic and memorable, the chess is often excellent, succession adds powerful elements of legitimacy and tradition. The history of chess is marked with few exceptions by the history of long matches between the best players of the day and that should not be discarded without damn good reasons.

The 1993 schism disrupted things so badly because now it's hard to know what to blame for problems of sponsorship and credibility, and how to fix them. We can just blame all the problems on the lack of a unified title and stop trying, which is a disaster. The KO's couldn't find legitimate sponsorship, but Kasparov matches couldn't either and it took Kramnik two years to find money.

I'm pragmatic because I want to actually influence things. Unreasonable partisan ranting is fine for unreasonable partisan ranters, but to make any progress we have to at least try to understand why people disagree with us and what we can do to move forward. I can write "give me a long match final or give me death!" forever to little effect. Or I can say what I would like to see and then add constructive suggestions in case my dreams don't come true. E.g., If we are stuck with this match tournament, seven of the eight places should require qualification.

The entire point of a qualification system is to reward people for a performance in a world championship cycle, producing on demand. Not, as G-Cube says above, for how well they played in 2004. Not to go Marxist, but the ACP should be fighting to break down such rewards to the elites. Giving Anand, Leko, and Moro a free ride for three years is obnoxious even if they are in the top five come 2007. One of the long-time kvetches about the old cycle was how it favored the champion so much. Now we have four people seeded into the final, 50% of the field just like the old world championship matches! (In the original FIDE outline Topalov would have entered in the semis, which don't quite like but am not jihad about. A little democracy is a good thing even for the champ. It worked well enough when this was tried before.)

I think we are talking inexact about "qualifying", use the word with different meaning. Mig, you say that 3 players have a "free ride" to the final. I do not see it that way, because the San Luis was also a qualifier for the next cycle. The first step in the qualifying cycle. Anand, Svidler and Morozevich have earned their rights.

Some toying with numbers. In a match the champion goes to the next final as defending champion. 50%. From San Luis 4 players goes to the next final. 50%. Same ratio.

There are always room for adjustments. Perhaps only 3 or 2 players from the top of the result list should be qualified for the next final. Perhaps only the champ. Perhaps none, as Nunn suggested. But San Luis produced marvellous chess to the end, maybe not change to much.

Anyone else think Gata Kamsky should spend more time studying and improving his chess than arguing regulations? I know he wanted to run for FIDE Presidency, but I don't see any logic in his arguments against FIDE's format, as Morten Sand explained.

Mig, how can you possibly argue that matches are popular? The article "The Success Of A World Championship" at Chessbase illustrates just how much popular San Luis 2005 was than the Kramnik-Leko match. Out of the 14 games from the Kramnik-Leko match, 10 were drawn! Out of the 16 games from the Kasparov-Kramnik match, 14 were drawn! The public does not want to watch these boring matches anymore, and it doesn't help that it is very expensive for sponsors. The old tradition of match play to determine a champion is dead. Long live San Luis

Here's the chessbase article I was referring to:

The negatives of match play to determine a champion is that it is lengthly, costly to sponsors, only one game per day so if it's a quick 16 move draw the spectators can't turn to another game for entertainment, only two players benefit (the champion and the challenger) .

All of these problems are solved by FIDE's San Luis. 14 rounds so it is not as lengthly as a standard length championship match, not as costly to sponsors, 4 games per day so even if there's a quick draw there's a good chance one of the other 3 games is going to be exciting, all players benefit they all get paid no matter in which place they finish. Grandmasters need to make a living, San Luis is beneficial to more grandmasters than what is possible with a match format.


it appears that the blog content is not being refreshed properly by the server (the browser "Refresh" does not help, suggesting the problem is on the server and not on my browser). For example, the "Recent comments" section will show a snippet of the latest comment in some thread, but when I click to read more the comment is not on the thread page. Looks like the "Recent Comments" reads from the database while the thread page relies on a cache...

Your argument holds no water and shows complete ignorance of history and relevant factors. You quote one match and also decide that the reason everyone loved San Luis so much was due to it's format, when the truth is that many of us loved it because we saw a ray of hope that this would lead back to the classical match format in the long run. Bad logic on your part.

The world champion title will mean zip under the new format, and the long line of future FIDE champs will become completely forgettable. There WILL be true interest in long matches and there WILL be good sponsorship for such matches if and when a true, set-in-stone cycle is instituted that truly honors the tradition of the world championship title! You cannot debase the title and still hope that people will care about it, because they won't.

Yes, the site has been unstable and I'm aware of the problems, thanks. As I mentioned a few days ago in one of the posts, an upgrade didn't go well. I don't have time to reinstall things right now, will try to fix everything from scratch on the weekend when there is less traffic. Fewer comments lost that way.

Speaking of comments that should be lost, Dionyseus's is a good example of why it's hard to get principals to participate in public conversations. Kamsky speaks his mind and gets told by some fan to stick to chess. Hello?! This IS chess. This is his career you're talking about and he's not supposed to have an opinion? How asinine. Then he continues by saying he doesn't understand Kamsky's post and ends it there. Nice.

When the title was unified matches were hugely popular, not even just for chess. Millions of dollars in prize fund, matches in major capitals, daily mainstream coverage. It wasn't that long ago. That's what I meant by the distortion we have experienced since 1993, especially since 1995. A universally recognized and respected champion combined with a pro-active federation hasn't been seen in a decade. We didn't have that in Kramnik-Leko, or even Kasparov-Kramnik. You get The Man, you hype The Man, you get a challenger, you hype the match, the showdown. It's big. But FIDE, perhaps not unreasonably, is worried that once you hype a champion and his challenger, they start to feel they doesn't need FIDE anymore, a la 1993. But I think that was a unique situation because no one is as big as Kasparov was (in reality and in his own mind). There's just no mutual trust between federation and players, because there is no transparency. Ilyumzhinov's FIDE has been non-stop unilateralism.

San Luis generated a lot of traffic at ChessBase, wow. Read about it in the paper much? See it on the news? Nope. Anyone outside the chess world who's not Bulgarian know who the world champion is? Nope. Preaching to the choir isn't going to bring in sponsorship. It's a boneheaded move in anything to take the best possible result as a typical result. Would FIDE be changing the rules had there been a tie for first on +2 and rapid tiebreaks? Probably not.

Also note that ChessBase's traffic includes the huge rise in the popularity of the live broadcasts. Not only does Playchess have more members all the time, but more importantly the event was in the western hemisphere and attracted the giant American online audience that usually sleeps through most of Linares et al. I'm not saying San Luis wasn't a great tournament, it was, for seven rounds. But the attention garnered by the giant Kasparov matches shouldn't be ignored just because it was before the internet, and before the time of many fans today.

As for the Kramnik-Leko match, I concur. You can strike out with the players you get and it's not as if these two were expected to light up the board with fireworks. A tournament will usually produce at least one decent game per round. On the other hand we've seen many excruciatingly boring double-round robins over the years. As I said before, we got lucky with San Luis. Good news, but when you find a ten dollar bill in the street you don't quit your job expecting to find them all the time.

Tournaments better than matches? I'm shocked to hear such opinions expressed....While theres much to debate in this thread, there is no justification for using a tournament to determine a world champion. The canidates tournaments were replaced in favor of matches for three main reasons. 1) Tiebreaks (Mig mentions this in numerous threads, clearly rapid tiebreaks to determine a champion can't be allowed into the equation). 2) Distorted Crosstables (In a worst case scenario, tail enders could blunder points away to one competitor artificially inflating a score. Even extra half points from players out of the running since round 3 could have a huge impact on the final score. 1962 Canidates: Petrosian wins by 1/2 point over Geller and Keres with all draws in their mutual games.) 3) Collusion (Fischer was never more right in pointing out the obvious possibility of team play in tournaments that could easily hand the crown to a chosen countrymen. Botvinnik - Keres anyone?) Matches aren't "perfect" because of luck of the draw issues but the bottom line is - with matches, you control your own destiny. Win your matches and you can't be eliminated by forces beyond your control. That is...unless FIDE strips you of your title....(just kidding, sort of). Sure some matches will be snooze fests but they are clearly the most fair and accurate way of determining an irrefutable World Champion.

On chessbase.com, Kamsky is now consistently (Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V) "Former world championship finalist Gata Kamsky"...whom did he play against in the world championship final?? It wasn't Kramnik or Kasparov.

It is highly inconsistent of chessbase to call Kamsky a "Former world championship finalist Gata Kamsky" since Anand is only "Tiger from Madras" and not a "Former World Champion"

Yes, a fine illustration of the importance of long matches versus frivolous knockouts! :-) Your nationalism aside, I doubt I'm alone in considering Anand's reaching the match with Kasparov in 1995 to be more prestigious than his winning a FIDE KO. Kamsky beat Anand, among others, in a candidates match (the playoff at least) to face Karpov for the FIDE title in 1996. Even though it was a schism title there was a real cycle and it is remembered better than any KO tournament ever will be.

But on a more serious note, Anand gets all sorts of titles. But everyone knows who he is and his credentials don't need to be listed every time. He's not known for winning the 2000 KO, far from it. It is a strain to keep coming up with modifiers for him and the other top players who are always in the news. So we end up with colorful stuff like Tiger, etc. If we had to call him "former FIDE champion" every time it would get obnoxious. Meanwhile, Khalifman, Kasimjanov, and Ponomariov don't have other real claims to fame, at least not at the highest level. You should consider it a compliment that we don't bother to mention Anand's FIDE title. Kamsky has been out of the limelight for a long time; anyone who has only gotten into chess since 1996 would appreciate knowing his past achievements.

Who is impersonating GM Gata Kamsky? There is no chance Gata ia wasting his time blogging with 99% of unknown people, who are afraid to identify themselves, and completely non-qualified for a real Kamsky dialog, such as I am. Reminds me of cheaters impersonating Bobby Fischer on ICC. Come on, don't get carried away. This is for fun only, ain't it boys?

P.S. Only World Chess Champions, current and former, along with licenced journalists, of course, are worth while blogging with. All other are, in fact, - sore losers, on any topic regarding the WC!?

On Gata Kamsky:

Who is he really, by the way? I don't know much about him? A Russian? I gather chess has not brought happiness to his life.

Hi, I never got being a World Champion in Chess.

I support Kamsky, Karpov, Iljumzhinov, Kasparov, Topalov, Anand, Vera Menchik, Alex Alekhine, Susan Polgar, Chess Ninja, Mikhail Tal and Yasser Seirawan.

I think being a World Champion in Chess is pretty nice, if you're not married. Married people should stick to their familes and raise children to become World Chess Champions before 20 years of age.

Why relevant questions and opinions from unknowns would be less relevant than relevant questions and opinions from well-knowns? Is it some sort of a value judgment whether or not one is well known or do you just have an inferiority complex and refuse to take anything you say seriously, in order to be able to say anything you like and think you can get away with it by turning around and saying it didn't matter anyway coz you just were wasting time or having fun? If you feel what you have to say is so irrelevant, then why say it at all? Just stop posting.

i'm impressed with all the professionals who actually take time to address some of the questions from chess fans. Kamsky certainly doesn't need to, yet he will. That's very nice. (Mind you, i have never seen Kamsky play, or even gone through any of his games, but this is certainly a positive introduction to him).
But of course, the same thing happens as when Kasparov logs on to playchess to watch some games. He gets more abuse than anything else.

San Luis WC 2005:

People, I hope you all agree that San Luis 2005 was the greatest tournament in the history of chess. Such good games have never been seen before. The quality was the highest in the history of chess!! There were no blunders!! People, I urge all to replace in their teachings of chess all classical tournaments with the San Luis one! You cannot even recall such a strong tournament with no blunders. One cannot recall a tournament where 7 people were joined in attacking one, and this one fought back and beat them all. About the 2nd part of the tournament that someone said was boring or whatever, this is completely untrue and false. The 2nd part of the tournament saw the chase after the future World Champion, who showed what modern chess is like. No 1-1 match can show this kind of chess greatness. We were so lucky to have such good chess players joined together, players who finally showed there is bright future in chess! About the organizers of this event, I don't really care, but they must have done a great job, too.

I do hope Argentina learns from San Luis and produces more World (Junior) Champions in chess from their own country.

I hope the World learns from San Luis, and urge publishers to contact and contract all 8 players to comment extensivelly their games, to finally replace Nottingham, Zurich, and other stoneage chess tournaments.

Heh, what do you think GMs do with their free time? Just study the Najdorf? Some of them are involved in the real world and the chess world beyond the board. Gata is one of these and this is not the first time he has posted here, I believe. So have at least a dozen other GMs under their own names and a few others anonymously (well, they told me). Of course there are possibly others who haven't told me.

It's very important to have the participation of the people actually involved in the chess world and who are directly affected by the things we debate. This alone makes their opinions more relevant, not necessarily superior in other ways. They have first-hand information and something on the line. Why wouldn't a former world championship challenger and long-time member of the top ten's opinion on the world championship cycle be more relevant than a random fan's, or mine? This is why it's great to have guys (and gals) who are actually playing in the US championship posting here.

It's not as if we all have to agree with them because they are GMs, of course. It's not as if they all agree with each other. And good ideas can come from anyone. But I think it's fair to ask for an extra measure of respect. There are enough people in the world who will take any opportunity to criticize a public figure online just because they can. The more well-known they are, the more they attract this sort of attention, both good and bad. It's understandable that few post in public, which is sad because the chess world could use more open debate, obviously. Disagreement is fine, but it can become harassement quite easily.

Kamsky's Wikipedia entry is sparse and dry but looks fairly accurate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gata_Kamsky

Topalov for Governor!

P.S. I encountered an error while posting the previous message, but after backpage and refresh the post came out.

Hey Ninja friend/sore loser/san luis, please don't spam the comments under different names. (Yes, the system tracks this.) It is obnoxious and silly. Pick one and stay with it, be a real person with your own opinions. Challenge and be challenged, learn something. Thanks.

The first half of San Luis was great, and there were many good games. I don't know about putting it in the top ten just yet, but it was certainly a very good one, full of fighting chess, mostly thanks to Topalov. Off the top of my head there were two great games and more truly memorable ones, which doesn't blow my mind. Leko's poor form and Polgar's collapse stopped the event from rising higher, and Anand wasn't at his best either. We've been blessed with several such great events in the past year. It's nice to stop thinking about politics for a bit and just enjoy it!

Yah, will reinstall the blog system at around 4am Sunday morning and see if the errors continue then. Thanks.

Mig, I don't agree that only Bulgarians know that Topalov is the World Champion. A couple of media websites from India and China have also reported Topalov as the new World Champion and I bet hundreds more which I haven't had the chance to read. Don't fall in the trap, the world is not only the US...

Are Kamsky and Shirov going to participate in the World Cup if FIDE chooses to stick with their new format?

Glad you can read Chinese, Giannis! As for India, they are the choir I'm talking about. They already have regular chess news, daily and in most papers of most of their major languages. The point - unless you thought I literally meant only Bulgarians - is having the world championship reach beyond the penetration we already have, beyond the chess columns. It used to and now it does not.

Thanks Mig for your reply and the link for Gata.

If he really is who he claims here, then I am too really very happy to read a comment from a chess giant such as he was.

There is no need to remind all that this blog is the highest-quality one on the chess planet. Even with anonymous postings. Waiting for ChessBase to publish comments of giants can be a long wait. I really don;t understand though, why professionals choose to comment on these important issues on ChessBase, or anywhere other than directly to the "bosses". Are the "bosses" not replying as they should? If so, then what else to do!? That would be sad.

All I understand is, that chess MUST make us all happy people, whether playing it or organizing it, or commenting it.

Can a former World C contender be qualified to judge of the todays World Chess Championship is a difficult question to answer. We have left these decisions to be made by the official bodies, with any remarks from players to be seen as complaints. ACP seems like a good start. Waiting for their comments, as you remarked before!?

I am obviously happy with chess, and feel at home at Chess Ninja, as long as the privilege lasts.

I'm about as anti-elitist as they come, don't get me wrong. I think most players who write open letters or post publicly in other ways do it because, as you suggest, it is difficult to have a dialogue with the official organization/s. If FIDE doesn't respond or, a separate case, doesn't respond in a way they agree with (a negative response), going public is a way to draw attention to a problem, to exercise influence if possible. Others at other times just do it for fun like the rest of us, which is why they don't want the discussion becoming personal.

Public discussion is also nice because it is transparent and creates a public record. Both of these elements are sadly lacking in most of FIDE's dealings, and national federations are rarely better.

On San Luis WC 2005:

Sorry for being anonymous, but it's one way of saying something maybe otherwise I would not!? The system allows different names, I chose to choose a name according to the post I made, because mostly I dislike giving away a proper email address, due to really a lot of spam these days. Multiple split personality maybe? I don't know.

About the players being in form or not, here is my comment:

On a robin round one must be first and one must be last. And others in the middle.

Form is a matter of a moment.

For example, Polgar was last. All might say that she was not in form. But what is she was - exactly in top form! She played variations that were probably excellent, but suffered stunning losses, because of better opponents preparation.

Can it be possible that all players were in their top form in San Luis? I think yes.

If not, what would have happened if really all the players in San Luis played in their ever best top form? We then would have to see computer-like draws in almost every game. If someone would lose a game, woul dit mean no form or top form for the other? An interesting topic, to which I have no real answer to.

I believe all players in San Luis came in their top form. Losing games does not mean they were not prepared as best as they could. it is only the beauty of chess.

On San Luis WC 2005:

Sorry for being anonymous, but it's one way of saying something maybe otherwise I would not!? The system allows different names, I chose to choose a name according to the post I made, because mostly I dislike giving away a proper email address, due to really a lot of spam these days. Multiple split personality maybe? I don't know.

About the players being in form or not, here is my comment:

On a robin round one must be first and one must be last. And others in the middle.

Form is a matter of a moment.

For example, Polgar was last. All might say that she was not in form. But what is she was - exactly in top form! She played variations that were probably excellent, but suffered stunning losses, because of better opponents preparation.

Can it be possible that all players were in their top form in San Luis? I think yes.

If not, what would have happened if really all the players in San Luis played in their ever best top form? We then would have to see computer-like draws in almost every game. If someone would lose a game, woul dit mean no form or top form for the other? An interesting topic, to which I have no real answer to.

I believe all players in San Luis came in their top form. Losing games does not mean they were not prepared as best as they could. it is only the beauty of chess.

First point : The top players don't protest. They just expect their part of the money. They don't care about the fact that this money has been stolen from a poor russian tyrany. They just think about the 5 million $$$.

Those who accept the money and shut up, those ones are the accomplices of Kirsan crimes. From the 100 top chess players, we can see that 99 are without morality, without principles, and that one, only one, dares to speak ... but why? To speak against FIDE commitee? Nooo ... just to defend his interests !!!

Oh my God ... as chess players, they are very talented, but amongst them I can't see any one that I would call a man.

Okay Rouslan, you make the same statements in every thread. First off, Kirsan hasn't been sponsoring much himself in recent years. Second, how does taking his money make them accomplices in stealing it? Make a morality case if you must for it being "dirty money" but don't blame chessplayers for Kirsan's crimes. They aren't buying something he's selling. You're insulting a lot of people for not having your standards, but you can have yours for free and they cannot, so the comparison is invalid.

Besides this sad comment, I agree with Mig. 30 years ago, Fischer was popular and known worldwide as the chess world champion; 20 years ago Karpov was known as world champion, and 15 years ago, at the peak of Kasparov - Karpov fights, for instance in sevilla 88, there was a REAL mediatic coverage of those world championships.

I can even remember of TV programs on french TV showing the event, and of a late daily half an hour program commenting everyday's game.

About San-Luis, I haven't seen anything or heard any comment, either on TV or in magazines. Nothing, not a single word. Nothing. 10 years ago, everybody could tell about Kasparov.

Therefore there are two urgent things to do. First one is to get rid of Kirsan Illumjinov and his bandit team. Second one is to organize an official reunification match.

Later on we'll be able to go on another format, tournament formulas, match formulas, but in terms of image, having right now no legitimate champion is an awfull thing for chess popularity and image.

Last remark : each time I go on fide.com, I can see Kirsan face and name 3 or 4 times. His pictures are everywhere. It's STALINIAN. Why is it the only federation where it works this way? I'm FED UP WITH STALINIAN FIDE ORGANIZATION CONTROLED FROM MOSCOW BY PUTIN.

How does it makes you an accomplice? Well Mig, again, I am forced to score a Godwin point : Banks in switzerland retaining money from the jewish killed by nazis are clearly accomplices. Being the friend of a mafioso does not makes you a mafioso, but accepting his money clearly makes you his accomplice, especially when you know that he's a mafioso.

"The comparison is invalid". I can't get the point. Why? So for instance, if you don't get any money from a hold-up, you can't judge or blame the people who take part in the hold-up? Following your ideas, it would be hard to put criminals in prisons...

Why would my standards be "for free"? Why do you suppose that I don't build my life on the basis of principles?

You don't build your life on playing chess, either.

So the Swiss banks were responsible for the crimes of the Nazis? Kirsan didn't steal before he was involved in chess? If all the world's chessplayers refused to play chess Kalmykia would be better off?

There are obviously clear cases of avoiding association with criminals and not taking dirty money, etc. If a Colombian drug cartel wanted to sponsor a tournament it would be a bad idea, say. And apartheid was brought down by sanctions that included many sports. But I don't put Kirsan in this league. And if you do, there wouldn't be a place anywhere in the former Soviet republics - and many other places - where you could have a tournament. "Behind every great fortune there is a great crime." I'm sure you could make a case against every major corporation too. There are now 2,000 of them who did dirty deals with Saddam Hussein; should we check to make sure they don't ever sponsor a chess tournament?

I don't have any illusions about Ilyumzhinov. I don't like the way he has run FIDE and I don't like what I know about the way he runs Kalmykia. That doesn't make him a despicable criminal or make anyone who plays chess his accomplice just because he was elected president of FIDE. Blame the federations who voted for him. They players don't even have a vote; they want to play chess.

Mig, let's say that your uncle is a mafioso. You know it, everybody knows it. Would you accept his money?

Here's the real question. Would you accept his money? Most human would take the cash, but I wouldn't.

I'm a poor chess player, Mig (2200), but I'm not a poor man. At 34 y.o. I run my business (3 shops and 15 employees) and have started it with the money I've made from my previous jobs. No heritage, no gift, everything I made, I made it myself (with my wife of course). My business is growing fast, and my principles are clear : I don't work with dubious customers or persons, I pay good salaries, I try to create a friendly atmosphere, I try to give to my employees everything I was dreaming of when I wasn't the boss.

My principles come before my interests, and ... I'm more proud to have created jobs and to give good living conditions to my employees, than to accumulate money (as an employee I already considered that I had enough money, I started my business first to be free, second to create something). In return, my employees work very well, my company makes a lot of cash (well for me 400000$ yearly benefits is much), and I'm happy to think about expanding and opening some new shops (I reinvest almost everything since I consider that I have enough with our (wife and me) little salaries).

Would I be a top chess player, I'd be fighting - exactly like Lautier right now - to get out from this situation. Justice and truth are worth much more, to my eyes, than personal interests. Thus I can only look sadly at the top chess players : just offer them the perspective to make substancial benefits and almost everybody stops thinking. It's just ashaming.

However Kirsan has gotten the money he uses to promote chess, i do believe that in any legal sense it is 'Kirsan's money', is it not?
My point is, the poor people of Russia would have no chance of getting it back in any case. The crime you accuse chessplayers of is very far-fetched and theoretical.
Moral crime, you say? Money and morality never go hand in hand. Some of us do not agree with the capitalist system to begin with, but since it is in effect, there is little we can do but try and get on with it the best we can.
As a moral man, do you not agree that many things are wrong that happen on day-to-day basis on everyday world people live? Yet they happen because the system is as it is. But i do believe you partake in the system yourself. Unless of course, you are filthy rich and you don't need to...and in that case there might be the question of how did you come by your wealth?

It's a very small moral crime that chessplayers accept the prize money coming from Kirsan. In fact, so small that it doesn't really deserve to be mentioned. Not in the world where corporate sponsorship is a big thing.

Also, Rouslan, i am probably much more fanatically moralistic by my own standards than even you are, but you seem to be obsessed with pointing a finger at everyone else, for obscure and thin reasons...why is that? Do you not believe in your own standards and need to feed them to others so as make yourself believe in them better?

i'm not saying it would be alright to do anything at all for money, but one must retain some rhyme and reason regarding it...Kirsan's money may not be the cleanest money around, but in this world, one can hardly consider taking it a very great moral crime, either. i can think of no morally clean way to get money, except perhaps prostitution (now scratch your head on that one).

Rouslan: i may or may not agree that running a business is a morally clean way of getting money. Do i think it's worse or better than taking Kirsan's prize money? Absolutely not. Think about it.

To be short for once, i agree with Mig on this one, too.

No, let's say you're a professional chessplayer. You have dedicated your entire life to becoming one of the best players in the world. It is your passion and the way you make a living. You pay your rent and feed your family with this money and you love the game.

One day, someone accused by some people as being a mafioso is elected president of a political group that is in charge of some aspects of your sport. You don't know him, you don't really know anything about all these accusations one way or another. This guy holds a few big tournaments worth millions of dollars. Do you refuse to play? Do you protest? A few have, actually.

"Fighting this" means putting Ilyumzhinov out of power at FIDE if you don't like him. He was elected by member federations. Meanwhile we have people in this very thread saying that chessplayers should shut up and just play chess. You want them to be political scientists, criminologists, and activists too.

I don't think chess should or can exist in a vacuum, but not everyone agrees with you that Kirsan is Stalin reincarnated. He's certainly no worse than Putin, for example, and is a saint compared to Niyazov or Aliyev. Instead of just criticizing everyone, let us know what you would like DONE. Instead of playing chess, what, in your opinion, should all the players DO? Imitate Lautier? What has he achieved, with all due respect? Last I checked he's not trying to kick out Ilyumzhinov.

Maybe Rouslan thinks all chessplayers should be as moral as he is and start a business and thus 'create' something socially productive and meaningful and profitable and universally good and wonderful and godfearing. Nothing enriches our wonderful culture as much as businesses...

Putin isn't so bad either, I'd certainly say Bush is worse. Bush's administration is arguably the most corrupt ever, some argue it ecplipses Nixon's administration as the most corrupt.

If there was an edit button, I would have edited my earlier post to make it less offensive to Kamsky. The point I was trying to make is that he's being too public and confrontational about the situation. Will he play in the World Cup even if FIDE decides to stick with their new format, or will he boycot the event? If he decides to play anyways, would his statements be seen as hyprocritical? If he decides to boycot the event, would that be a foolish decision? It is important to think this through, it is important to weigh the consequences.

Why don't you think he's thought about it? His decisions are his own responsibility. So far he is just making his concerns known, nothing wrong with that even if it's only for that and nothing else. There is nothing that says players have to keep their mouths shut all the time. It's either public or not public!

And if it's for a reason, that's okay too. With such a tight deadline for action, and no word at all in public from the ACP, sending an email to Kalmykia or Greece isn't going to do much. As for boycotts and hypocrisy, that is the language of the absolutist fan. Shirov and Kamsky can voice their concerns without expecting to be cut out or to refuse to play.

sacateca, about businesses... without people creating a business, without the guy with the idea, what would the other ones do? Without a captain, where goes the boat?

Humans are evoluated apes. Apes are divided in two categories, dominant males and the other ones. Without a dominant male, the group disappears, everybody dies.

It's the same with business : either you ARE ABLE, physically and intellectually, with all the problems coming along with the "dominant male" position (fighting everyday, finding ideas, working 18 hours per day), or you're not. Most humans work and think as employees : just criticizing the boss. I was an employee myself, and in 99% of cases I wasn't happy with my boss.

What I did was simple : I decided that if, as an honnest man, I would try to be an honnest boss, maybe I'd give some men a better life. Of course, to myself as well, but for me, the main point was not money but FREEDOM. Dominant males are the only one to be free, Sacateca.

Sacateca, you criticize the bosses, but you don't even UNDERSTAND that they are as necessary as the workers are. Necessary because it's how we - men - are geneticaly made. Very few men are able to live as real anarchists, on their own. Most of men need rules, and some rare men CAN dominate little or big groups. That's just nature, that's the way things are.

Once you understand that point, if you're an honnest man, the best thing you can do to bring better living conditions to some people is not to leave only as***les runing businesses. That's what I'm doing.

Don't criticize too much those who are socially productive : they are the guys who fill up your superstore, who build your house and bring heat, electricity and all the modern comfort in it. I am proud to be part of this : I just take flour and water, and some other products, and produce very, very good bread and pastries. I'm a baker, I feed lots of persons, employees, employers, and even chess players. To achieve my goals I work more in a week than most people work in a month.

You ironically say that nothing enriches our cultures as much as businesses? Come to my artisanal bakeries, try the taste of my breads, and maybe you'll be less sarcastic... Sacateca, what have you done in life to criticize me so much before you even know me?

Dionyseus : "putin isn't so bad". Where do you live? In USA? I guess that you must have really zero idea on how things are going on in Russia right now. Ok, Bush is doing VERY bad, and USA are less and less looking like a democracy, but it still seems hard to imagine in USA an army assault against a school with 400 children in there...

Mig, I don't want chess players to be "political scientists, criminologists and activists". I just expect them, as semi-public or public persons, to act as honnest people. I'm not a political scientist, neither I am criminologist, but at least I open my mouth and try to say it when I feel that something's really going wrong.

Rouslan, you can stick to your bakery, make 400.000, post your chess ideas but please stop preaching about your "morality" and "honesty". We got it, you're honest and moral while top chess players, Putin, Kirsan and everone else is not. OK, we agree, please relieve our brain from this torture...

Why do you think others don't do the same? As I said, not everyone thinks Kirsan is Stalin. Don't present yourself as morally superior just because not everyone agrees with you.

Generaly speaking, I have the feeling that the people I'm talking with in this discussion, Mig, Sacateca, Dyoniseus, that you are debating as pro chess players. Are you defending defending your interests? What are your ratings?

Heh, I don't think any of us have ever received a dime from Kirsan! And I would support just about anyone on earth against Ilyumzhinov as FIDE president, I suppose. But many of my friends are professional players and having them slandered as a group is offensive.

Giannis, never said that top chess players, Putin, Kirsan and everyone else was not honnest. Just said that in some situations (as for instance last year in Lybia when Israeli players could not come), honnest men would not take part in such tournaments. A lot of top players didn't came in Lybia. Some won't come to the world cup as well.

Putin is clearly not an humanist. Kirsan is clearly not an humanist. I'm sorry to feel closer with, let's say, Gandhi. It's up to you to choose your favorite political leaders, to pick up your favorite Colonel... unless you agree with me to say that life in Greece was happier after 1975 ?

Giannis, you did read bad : I don't make 400000. My companies makes that money, not me. My salary is around 1500, as is my wife : we both consider that we have enough with that. We reinvest everything to open new shops. Not to get MORE in the future, but just to create something.

Giannis, I put all that in because I had simple critics, like "what are you doing in life to open your mouth". I answered, asked in return to people what were their impressive achievements, and am still waiting for the answers.

No, we are SO not going to start debating the specifics of world leader corruption, especially not 9/11 conspiracy theories. Simply not part of the conversation. My only point was to say that Ilyumzhinov is not universally condemned. Please keep things related to the topic. (Chess, btw!)

Mig, I didn't agress all your chess pro friends, I just said that it wasn't correct to take part in FIDE events. It wasn't correct last year in Lybia (Khadafi is another humanist we haven't named yet), and it's not correct now.

Why was it not correct to take part in Tripoli? Because you don't like Khaddafi? He's a legitimate leader of his country just like anybody else. It's not like we're talking about Nazi Germany or apartheid South Africa here.

Acirce, please ... why do you come with that? How can you have such a weak culture? Kadhafi is linked with so many terrorist actions, kadhafi is a tyrant, all political opposition in Lybia is either in prison or dead, and he's a legitimate leader of his country like anybody else like Saddam, Mussolini, Pinochet, El Assad in Syria or Than Shwe in Birmania.

Mig I'm sorry, I know this is a chess forum, but when I read such childish comments I feel forced to answer...

Libya is a peaceful country that is just as much part of the community of nations as Sweden is. Anyone's personal gripes about their leader, most of which is based on propaganda anyway, is a different matter. Now if they started invading and occupying their neighbour states, and if they, say, created an apartheid system on the occupied territories like Israel has, it would be different in my opinion. Such states should be punished and isolated. Definitely not allowed to organize official sports events.

I remember I saw Khadafi on some public photo on the Internet playing chess with some grandmaster!? Or was it another leader, not sure now.

By the way, reading all the posts, including mine, I forgot what the topic was.

On San Luis, some chess magazines I saw have made decent coverage.

Why was there no TV shows, I don't know. Probably current lack of TV guys addicted to chess.

It is a pity TV people don't play chess more. There are hundreds of chess tournaments with hundreds and thousands of happy children playing chess, and no one is interested?? This is so sad. For TV, it is more important if Beckam slipped on the sidewalk, than one thousand happy children gathered for days in one place, playign chess.

Maybe in some countries TV chess exists on a regular basis? Or has Internet taken over everything.

The one thing I missed in San Luis is live video coverage. Many really wanted to see Anand's and Morozevich's faces when White sacked his Bishop on h7.

News from Bulgaria:

"Bulgarian chess king Veselin Topalov donated his world cup to the National History Museum in Sofia on Friday.

Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov, chief of the museum accepted the trophy, claiming to be happy to have lived to see a Bulgarian who was a bigger patriot than himself.

This was the right place for the trophy, Topalov stated, because it would be a waste to keep it in his private show case, as he had won it for Bulgaria. However he did mention that he wanted it back for a day or two in December when he would come back to Bulgaria to visit his birth town of Ruse.

Dimitrov awarded Topalov with a new special edition of the historic book Historia Slavyanobolgarskaya. He added that the last sports-related artifact that the museum had placed on display was an ancient golden crown of an Olympic champion from fifth century B.C., who later became a Thracian King.

Dimitrov also showed Topalov the Olympic and world medals of Bulgaria's legendary wrestler Boyan Radev, placed on display in a special corner."

Okay guys, let's call it a day. It's a recent thread and some people might be interested in reading about and talking about chess. It's a lot of material to go through at this point. Thanks.

My capitalist ethics agree with Mig : your home, your rules. I therefore apologize, first to have been bringing the topic so far from its initial point, second if I have offended anyone because I didn't want to.

Soooo ... Kamsky. Yes, he's right, he's the only one to publicly point out FIDE flip flops.

I would like to say that I think Susan Polgar is one of the best people in chess for chess. she does not sit around complaining. she takes active steps to promote chess. and she is doing a wonderful job.

all the complaints about chess not being popular but she announced on her blog



Approximately 2,300 tickets have been sold for the match and Gorbachev speech. The black-tie $1,000 a plate dinner event has been completely sold out.

all this for a chess weekend in Lindborg Kansas. not exactly the biggest chess city in the world.

Congratulations Susan. You are Wonderful.

Now to all the complainers on Mig's blogs. go do something postive like Susan. stop complaining.


I have never met Susan. just like what I read.

Tommy, I agree with you : before San-Luis I was really hoping to see Susan world champion. That would have had many positife aspects, first one for the women conditions in many countries (difficult for a man to claim that he's more clever than his wife when chess WC is a woman), and second because Judit is much wiser than most male chess players.

Unfortunately Judit didn't won...

Hi guys,

The answer to the question whether I'm going to play in World Cup regardless is very simple. Since there are contracts given out to the players before the event, I'll modify the contrat to reflect my intention to play under old regulations as is my right. FIDE has been notified of this decision on my behalf. That's all. By the way, thanks to everyone for their support, unfortunately, Chessbase doesn't have public comment feature on their website.

So what does this mean Gata? If you'll be placed 6th in the final standings you will refuse to qualify to the Candidates?

It means, that if I'm placed 6th, I'll be playing in a Last Chance Tournament.

Good luck then Gata. Last time Milov was thinking like this and he ended up paying 50,000 to lawyers without achieving anything...

Mr Kamsky:
Thanks for your comments.

BTW: I met you briefly the first night of the HB global event. At the Hyatt bar/grill. You were quite courteous despite the fact that I was the duffer who didn't recognize you right away and asked what section you were playing in. :) We talked about other chess playing lawyers like Morphy and Alekhine.

Anyway I am much more interested in WAZ 2006 than in San Luis because you are going to butt heads with the big boys again. I can't wait! I also know I am not alone in this view.

In the chessbase piece you say chessplayers dream to win the WC. If you dream then dream big. These "tournament champions" are not the same as the match champions of before. Winning a tournament like Linares, Tripoli, or San Luis is nice and it is a good payday but they are smaller dreams. Even *right after* Topalov's big win in San Luis people still recognized Kramnik's title as more legit. see these polls:



As for Kasim and Ponomariov championship wins... well nothing needs to be said.

Many players know they could not make it through candidates matches. Accordingly they prefer tournaments because of the chance for a lucky streak. Unfortunately this lucky streak possiblitly makes "tournament championships" less important and interesting to fans. There are several other reasons why the "tournament championships" are bad for chess but I won't go on here.

My point is that just because many top players prefer (perhaps due ot thier own self interest) a single tournament instead of candidates matches followed by a WC match, that doesn't mean that it is best for chess. When you say to consult all 128 participants, I'm concerned your just redrawing the line of "elite players" who should have a say from 8 to 128.

My view is that the system must be designed with an eye on the *whole* chess picture. Not just the view of 128 or the view of 256 or even 10,000 players.

What system will bring the most interest to chess? Whatever gets the most people interested will bring in the most sponsors and the most money to the game. With that goal in mind, every way you look at it leads to the same conclusion. The candidates matches followed by the WC final match is the system.

BTW I am *not* saying that *your* comments were made due to self interest. I really don't know whether you would prefer a tournament or match system. Moreover, you have already proven that *you* can do just as well if not better in a candidates match cycle as a tournament.

Alright I'm back to suing people. :) Good luck at WAZ!

Isn't Gata a lawyer? Did he ever graduate from law school? What kind of law? So the only thing would waste is his time...

Niceforkinmove, the polls you are referring to don't prove that people still recognized Kramnik's title as more legit, they only prove that the people at the Chessninja forum think that way.
I agree with Shirov, Topalov's title is more legit.

a few things

Susan Polgar is the sister of Judit Polgar. Judit was in San Luis.

I want to say that I love to read the opinions of the players like Gata Kamsky and Susan Polgar and other top players. I find their opinions to be extremely well thought out and very beneficial for me to understand the issues.

Gata I was cheering for you to beat Karpov years ago. and now I will be cheering for you in this cycle.

I came into chess during the Fischer era in 1972. Back then I thought the World Champion cycle was not really fair. it was too biased in favor of the champion. it was a long 3 year cycle and one little slip and a player lost out and did not get his shot at the title. then another 3 years. I recognized that the player also had to have his best years at the correct time in the cycle.

My general feeling at the time was that the overall structure was not fair to the top chess players. My feeling at the time was that the Champion should have to defend his title every year against the top challenger. and that the challenger should come from all the players.

The problem with giving favor to a few of the top rated players is the politics involved. and the world champion system should be a system where anyone and everyone had a chance to win.

I also felt at that time that the champion keeping his title with a draw odds is totally unfair. the match is to find out who wins not keep the old champ because the match is drawn.

In the case of the drawn match why can they not keep playing until one player finally wins a game. a sort of sudden death.

I especially did not like the idea of a 9-9 draw where the challenger had to win 10 games. why not keep playing until one wins the 10th game. thus the challenger to win had to have at minimum a result of 10-8. or win by 2 points. incredible.

I do kind of like the idea of a match to beat the champion. that a challenger has to beat the champion. but the match must have both participants on equal grounds. no advantage to either player.

Today it seems reasonable to play the san luis type tournament to choose a challenger who then must play the champion in a match. an equal match. no advantages. I think that would be good.

the problem with the san luis type tournament to pick the champion is that it does not show the winner beating all the other players. they usually draw the other top players and win against the lower rated players. in final decision of the champion. it is best to see the 2 top people play against each other. they have to beat the other top player. that is more along the line of true championship. the champion plays the top challenger. what more is there to ask for in a championship.

like Kramnik said. you think you are better than me ok let us play a match and you try to beat me. otherwise you have not shown you are a better chess player. SPOT ON.

I agree that the ONLY way to show you are a better chess player is to play the other person and win. winning against other people does not cut the ice.


So Anand, Svidler and Morozevich can play in the WorldCup even if they've already qualified.
But is not that unfair to all the people (and they'll be plenty!) who will lose to them and get knocked out?

Um, if they lose then they don't deserve to be world champ (even FIDE world 'champ') now do they? So, it is quite fair. You have to be able to beat anyone in order to deserve being called champion.

Well it seems that Anand can be part of the world cup, of the candidate tournament, of the supertournament and of the final 8. Which means that if he plays at his level, he may have 3 or 4 seats in the final 8.

In this case, in the final 8 in 2007 he just has to choose, for instance, Anand Nr 1 who will win against Anand Nr2, Nr3 and Nr4 and will very likely be world champion.

Thoose fide rules are really to much for me. Yes, again, I'm criticizing the fide, but it's too much for me to give to some players the right to compete in events qualifying for other events where they are already qualified. They already had the big money in 2005, will have big money in 2007, and still want to take as much money as possible in 2005. Where are the ethics here? Where are the logics?

knight_tour, you say yourself that "if they lose they don't deserve to be world champ" about the players who can lose to Anand, Moro or Svidler at the world cup. It's 100% true.

But in the case Anand, Moro and Svidler lose to other players at the world cup ? The other players will have to meet them again at the world championship. So Anand, Moro and Svidler can come, take no risk, get as much money as possible and still have their seat at the next world 8 players tournament?

Why do certain players deserve, in the case they lose, to be out of competition, and some other players have so much rights? Why, I can tell you : Anand, Moro, Svidler and all the 8 players present in San-Luis met Kirsan Illumjinov. Like in a tyranny, they became friends of the king. Therefore they are not any more like common people.

Kamsky is a very talented chess player. 10 years ago, he was quite close to Anand, Karpov and Kasparov. But he's not a friend of the "family". That's the way things go with a mafioso : if you know him, everything's fine for you. If not ... vae victis.

Mig, again, you'll say that I'm saying the same things again and again. Again you'll say that not everybody agrees that the words mafioso and stalinian apply to Kirsan Illumjinov. The personnality cult developped by Kirsan (pictures of him, news about him everywhere on FIDE web pages), his ways to create laws, his politics in Kalmykia, the assassination of Larissa Yudina, all this proves what I say.

I don't care that some people may not agree : truth is truth, and every single act commited by Kirsan Illumjinov shows that, unfortunately, I'm true. Therefore, there is only one way to get out from this situation : make as much noise as possible so that during next fide elections in 2006 we'll get rid of Mr Illumjinov.

Here again, another problem will appear : our countries, USA, France, Germany are amongst the biggest chess federations on earth. But during those fide 2006 votes, it's one country = one voice. Which means that the Guatemala chess federation, with 24 fide players, has the same weight as Germany (where 250 GMs and IMs play). Therefore, when you use mafioso systems, it's easy to offer three bananas to Guatemala chess federation, two to rwanda, a peanut bag to fiji, and a little gift to all chess federations with 1 to 30 fide chess players, to ensure your mafioso power.

This is the way things go, and this is also why Kirsan will remain FIDE president, when a lot of pro chess players would like to get rid of him. And Mr Kamsky, bravo for your brand new fight against fide. Good luck. I feel so sorry that you, David, are so little and so weak against Goliath, but you are 100% right.

Would everybody act like you, FIDE president would be thrown away easily in 2006. When you were young, you were obsessed with chess. Stopping chess for some years probably cost you a lot in terms of chess strength, but on the other hand you have grown as a man, which is - to my eyes - much more important.

"Anand, Svidler and Morozevich can play in the WorldCup even if they've already qualified."

Where did you get that notion? Reading the updated regulations, I don't see anywhere that indicates the 2nd to 4th place finishers of San Luis can participate in those events.

The "high moral standards" of Rouslan obviously allow him to say that because they are small, chess federations from countries like Guatemala, Rwanda and Fiji can be bought with bananas or peanuts. But if you are "big" (Germany, France) you have such high moral standards that you cannot be bought.

So, according to our moralist preach Rouslan, honesty is calculated by size and power. Well Rouslan, thankfully we don't all have the same life philosophy as you do. And if people with your attitude get access to power, they become much worse dictators than Kirsan or Qaddafi...

Dionyseus, I had asked earlier -

Correct me if i'm wrong, but the top 4 luis players won't be playing in the world cup right? because they have already qualified?
Posted by: JaiDeepBlue at October 27, 2005 14:51

Since they are all qualified by rating they can play. Topalov has already opted out, we'll see if Anand, Svidler, and Morozevich do.
Posted by: Mig

knight_tour, its unfair because Anand, Svidler and Morozevich can play without any mental pressure, while their opponents will be desperately trying to qualify. Also, lets assume that they qualify, then what?
their qualifying spots will go to players lower down the standings, which doesent make much sense either.
that said, I'm quite confused by these frequent changes in the regulations so perhaps I'm mistaken.

If they didn't play the spots would go to other people. If they do play the spots will go to other people. In such a large and powerful field it's not like the spots will go to weakies. The World Cup is an important and lucrative event in its own right, not just a qualifier. Banning three prestigious players because they are already qualified for an event that isn't until 2007 would be silly. That said, I'm sure the players who lose to them will have a different opinion...

I'm annoyed that there is no comment from the ACP. Has anyone tried contacting them to ask?

Yah, they are "discussing" a reaction as of two days go according to a board member who doesn't want to go on the record yet. I suppose that could also mean there won't be one. The deadline is Monday, so perhaps just asking for an extension would be a good idea to start.

Thanks - hope to see something soon.

Whether the cycle is fair and whether its meaningful are two different things.

"Fairness" is by and large determined by consistancy and letting people know in advance what is happening. Not changing the rules half way through. So I do not think it was unfair of prior world champs to have draw odds if they had to overcome draw odds to become champion.

In Fischers case his demand wouldn't be unfair if he had to beat Spassky in the same way he wanted to require the new challenger to beat him. Indeed, if he did have to beat Spassky by the same margin he wanted to require of Karpov it may have been unfair not to let him.

However regardless of fairness the fischer demand was a bad one. It makes the event less "meaningful" because the players are on such unequal footing for the final match.

Accordingly as long as whatever system is adopted is stuck to consistantly I don't think "fairness" is a problem.

The problem with FIDEs current tournament championships is they are not "meaningfull". Since we have tournaments jsut like San Luis every year and they are all won by different people it is very difficult to support the claim that the winner of San Luis should be considered the best player and thus the WC.

As to the candidates match cycle being unfair or giving the champion an advantage I would strongly disagree.
First, empirically champions have not had an easy time defending.
Second, the candidates cycle is for determining who plays the champion. Its not the event agaisnt the champion.

If your concern is "one slip up" and the best player is out then its the single tournament qualifier you should avoid. The series of matches leading to the WC match avoids that problem. Generally in order to lose an 8 game match a player has to make more than one mistake. (of course that is not the case with the mini 2 game matche of the FIDE KOs.)

If I were the best in the world and knew it, I would definitely want the candidate match cycle. It would mean that someone would have to beat me before they could take my seat at the WC final match.

If I knew I wasn't the best in the world I would *much* prefer a tournament qualifier and or final. Many things can happen in a tournament that are out of each individual players control. Obviously each individual player isn't even playing in all the games that control the outcome.

For these and several other reasons I think the most meaningful WC cycle is to have candidates matches leading to a final WC match. This system would also be fair so long as they stick to it.

"We have tournaments like San Luis every year"??? I would like to know which other tournaments are double round-robins, with 8 elite top players, with qualification places for the next cycle, with 1,000,000 USD prize fund and with the World Champion title at stake. If you know one, give me a call...

Not all tournaments are the same. If a title and serious money is on the line, the player psychology is much different compared to any other normal tournament like Linares or Dortmund...

Giannis, I will give you a call. What's your address and phone number?

Macieja, secretary of the ACP, has sent a statement, actually in form of an answer to Gata Kamsky's letters at ChessBase. As such it is to be published as an answer at ChessBase later today, but he sent me a copy. Basically, the big change from match to tournament and the swap in the number of qualifiers came as a surprise to the ACP. They did participate in talks and achieved two concessions. (Tiebreaks on an extra day per round and a copy of the contract between FIDE and the organizers.)

He points out that in the report on the July ACP-FIDE meeting it was declared that the rules were set in stone. "Thus, all words of criticism or support for the current changes should not be addressed to the ACP, as the ACP was not aware of them."

Okay, but that still leaves open the question of taking action or at least censuring FIDE for this apparently unilateral act of inviting players and then changing the rules. I understand that the ACP doesn't want to take a stand on matters of format, although they do promote the classical time control. Even if you prefer tournaments to matches or don't care either way, the lack of transparency and late changes show, as Kamsky put it, a total lack of respect for the players.

Giannis, we're talking format. Obvious psychology will be different due to prize fund and title, but that's true with any format and therefore irrelevant. The point is not having those things be the only difference between the world championship and Linares et al. The winner of a tournament will never have the gravitas of a long match winner.

But Mig, FIDE is not taking out the possibility of matches for the title. They are just saying that whoever believes that funding is possible for such matches, he has to show the money first...

FIDE has removed the semifinal and world championship matches from its championship cycle, swapping them for a final tournament. That they say they might consider other matches if someone puts up an unknown amount of money is not relevant to the cycle. The rules used to say matches, now they say tournament. Plus, as Kasparov once put it, "that's too many "ifs" for FIDE."

In many ways such a match with anyone but Kramnik would be worse, allowing anyone with enough cash to buy a shot at the title. I'm not against this in principle as long as the winner still has to defend the title on the same timetable, but it's definitely weird. I assume it was added to keep the door open for Kramnik or Kasparov to parachute in without having to go through the cycle. Of course the were doing this before it was in writing. The Prague Agreement basically handed Kasparov a match like this against Ponomariov. Now they're just making it official so they can make a buck without the FIDE champion balking.

I find this stuff about matches completely bizarre. What is the point of setting up this complicated cycle if someone with some funding can just walk straight into the final?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 27, 2005 8:43 AM.

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