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Serve, No Volley

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A long press release from Vladimir Kramnik's management in Germany blames Veselin Topalov and FIDE for the breakdown of a proposed match between Kramnik and Topalov. It's a predictably partisan document and there is no way to be sure how closely it resembles reality until we hear from the other side (if then, considering the other side is FIDE). The tone of the credited author, Dortmund organizer Stefan Koth, is to diplomacy what George W Bush is to, umm, diplomacy. I'm expecting replies from FIDE and Topalov's manager Danailov, although I don't expect them to be any less harsh.

Unless there is actual cash on the table (as there apparently was, see below) it would be silly to agree to anything if you are negotiating from a position of strength, as Topalov/FIDE are. (i.e. Kramnik's guys are chasing Topalov, not vice-versa.) The undersigned organization "Universal Event Promotion GmbH" doesn't seem to have any prior existence and uses Koth's address. It's always nice to invent a company or organization so things sound official and respectable. (Kasparov's "World Chess Council" comes to mind.)

Update: Stefan Koth replied quickly below with the following:

I assure you that the mentioned guaranteed fees plus taxes plus the organisation budgets were on the table. The drafts of the contracts contained all necessary standards. There was no disagreement in this point, not with Mr. Topalov's and not with Mr. Kramnik's manager. The reasons for finally declining the offer are correctly stated in the UEP press release.

My thanks to Stefan. This is going to get more interesting than I thought. The first (brief, off the record) response to me from a FIDE exec said the money mentioned in the UEP press release was "not available" and they would make things clear in a statement. Being FIDE, this is suspect. But after Mr. Koth's confirmation that the funds were available I will retract my statements until hearing details from FIDE and Topalov. I still don't understand why they didn't name the sponsor.

I would like to see a Topalov-Kramnik match just to tie up the loose ends. It would be nice if Topalov and/or FIDE responded with a release that spelled out exactly what would be required for them to accept a match. If not precise dollar amounts (why box yourself in if there might be bids?), at least the guarantee requirements and other details.


Very astute, Mig. It never occurred to me to imagine the money might not be there. How naive I am!

It increasingly looks like Kramnik is thrashing about. Kramnik's statement that "[he] strongly believes he is the world champion" now has more than ever the ring of "he strongly wants to somehow wring another payday out of the whole affair."

By the way, was "visa versa" an intended pun?

If you children can't handle even the slightest, most innocuous reference to the real world, please go elsewhere to get your chess news instead of plastering the comments with infantile outrage. If you can't tell a topic from a metaphor, please don't post. If, in the middle of a 400-word item, I make a four-word aside on politics, movies, klezmer music, or food, it does not mean you need to spam us all about these four words.

Sorry, my english is not that perfect but I would like to answer you asap. I
assure that the mentioned guaranteed fees plus taxes plus the organisation
budgets were on the table. The drafts of the contracts contained all
necessary standards. There was no disagreement in this point, not with Mr.
Topalov's and not with Mr. Kramnik's manager. The reasons for finally
declining the offer are correctly stated in the UEP press release.

No, just a favorite typo.

Well, I hope Kramnik thrashes about, it's about time. I mean it in a good way, getting his butt in gear and shaking some money trees. The threat of total marginalization appears to have woken him up. And for those who said Kramnik doesn't need Topalov, this press release begs to differ.

"Snippy", "vitriolic", "one-sided", "childish", "cheap", indeed. Mig, did you even bother to read the press release?

"Saying that IF we get money". There is no "IF" in the UEP statement as you seem to suggest:

"This offer guaranteed a fee of US $500,000 (net) for each of the two players – together US $1,000,000 (net). In addition, both players were to participate in specified sponsoring revenue."

You completely ignore that according to the press release both parties had already reached an agreement:

"The offer, which was accepted by Mr Kramnik, has now been rejected by Mr Topalov, via his management. Intensive negotiations, which involved the management of both players as well as the main investor of the UEP, originally brought agreement on all issues."

Then Mr Koth received a message from Mr Danailov:

"This can be seen from a message in which Mr. Topalov’s manager stated that FIDE were not happy with the match organised by UEP and the terms and conditions agreed in principle between the parties. In this message the Topalov side voiced FIDE reservations about a possible defeat of Mr. Topalov and possibly resulting consequences in chess politics. As compensation Mr. Topalov’s manager requested a fee of US $1,000,000 (net) for Mr. Topalov and an additional net sum of US $300,000 for FIDE."

Do you accuse Mr Koth of lying? Do you want to suggest that he invented this message and that it doesn't exist?

It's also very telling that you completely ignore Kramnik's very dignified statement which also contained the following important observation:

"In my opinion respect for chess history and pursuance of its inherent values are essential. I am absolutely convinced that chess enjoys the still existing deep respect within our society only because of its own history."

Hello Stefan. Thank you, but I still don't understand. Who was the sponsor and why was this critical information not mentioned in the press release? Was the $500,000 fee to be placed in an escrow account? An off-the-record official at FIDE told me that the money was "not available." (They are preparing an official response.)

Well, the one valid point in Mig's snippy, vitriolic, one-sided, childish, cheap post is that we should wait for official statements from Topalov's and FIDE's side in order not to rush into conclusions.

I read the press release Martin, but you seem to ignore that it's a press release. That something coming from one player says both players agreed is taking things a little too blatantly at face value. Or do you think FIDE and Topalov's responses will agree with everything in this one? Naive.

Of course I'll be delighted to retract this statement if Topalov and FIDE confirm that the money was actually there. Early word is that, at least to their satisfaction, it was not. Not that I'm eager to believe FIDE any more than anyone else, mind.

I don't think Topalov is in the habit of walking away from half a million dollars. He has done well in his career, but not THAT well. Half a mil is real money. If it exists, that is.

All of this suggests that Mig's surmise is correct: at the moment, the money isn't there.

I do believe that some sort of match is likely to happen, eventually. Topalov wants it, because without beating Kramnik there will always be residual doubts as to his legitimacy. I also suspect that Topalov relishes the challenge.

Topalov will need to work with FIDE, but the only thing FIDE requires (or has ever required) is cash.

Your post is highly disappointing Mig. I had a lot more respect for you before this post.

Added this to the item and retracted comments about money not being on the table pending hearing from FIDE and Topalov. See, this is why I like to wait to hear from all sides... Anyway, I'll give benefit of the doubt.

This is going to get more interesting than I thought. The first response to me from a FIDE exec said the money mentioned in the UEP press release was "not available" and they would make things clear in a statement. Being FIDE, this is suspect. But after Mr. Koth's confirmation that the funds were available I will retract my statements until hearing details from FIDE and Topalov. I still don't understand why they didn't mention the sponsor.

And I'm allowed to be snippy and vitriolic, I'm rather obliged to be, actually. I'm blogging, not trying to negotiate a world championship match. Nyah nyah.

It's worth noting that FIDE previously mentioned a sum of at least two million dollars being required to tempt them. Kirsan recently paid around $50 million to be reappointed head of Kalmkyia so maybe he needs more cash...

Dear Mig,
You are absolutely right when reminding Martin that this is a press release. But your snippy, vitriolic, one-sided, childish, cheap post ignores this fact, also. The press release clearly states that the financial guarantees were the part of the offer. The press release also clearly states the reason why Topalov declined the offer: FIDE is not happy handling the case if Topalov lose, and therefore Topalov wants more money in his pocket to go against the FIDE will.

No, they say it's "clearly obvious" but they don't know unless they are mind-readers. The press release interprets what happened from one side. Even if you agree with the interpretation it has to be understood as such.

Man what a bunch of lamers comment here. Why are so many people more interested in attacking Mig than making a point about the information?! What a waste of time!

IMO, Topalov is not afraid of playing chess with Kramnik, he is afraid of losing the best money chance of his life he got.

The position of the strongest chess player and publicity he got after San Luis, which could bring him big money on short term (writing a book, playing vs. Hydra, etc.) will disappear if he lose, and because his chances vs. Kramnik are fifty-fifty, he wants to secure as much bucks as he can on the first occasion, or avoid playing at all.

But as a matter of fact, this match is also interesting only as a 2006 event, not later.
And if the match does not happen, he will lose more profit, IMHO. We can not expect any other big event other than traditional tournaments, and I do not think Hydra team is interested in a new match after defeating Adams. Playing Kasparov or Fischer? This is joke. The book will not bring him a lot, and he will become an ex FIDE Champion soon. He just must play if he wants money. And he will play because he wants money!

As for Kramnik, if negotiations really break down, he could try to challenge Anand. The question is, who will offer more, Kramnik for a single match, or FIDE for playing in their cycle. My bet is on Kramnik, as we can compare how much winners and losers of last FIDE and Classic Championships got.

And remember, there is no guarantee that Kirsan will hold the post, and FIDE position can become much more flexible after re-elections.

I am in favor of anything that Kramnik says right now about Topalov and the FIDE.

FIDE has done nothing. Topalov has been a great chicken and is afraid to play Kramnik.

Dear Mig,
This was a press release. This was an official document, not a rumor. And this document was distributed by trustworthy source well known not only in chess world, but in big business world. Nobody had a chance to blaim Koch as lyer yet. And if you really expect that the FIDE press release will be more trustworthy than the document made by one of founders of SWIFT, I suppose you'd sit and read all press releases FIDE published during last years.

O-ops, it looks like I messed Mr. Stefan Koth with Mr. Bessel Koch. Sorry, my fault!

I don't accuse him or anyone of lying, only of not giving the full story, perhaps only because they are incapable of giving the full story. Not morally, literally. It's an interpretation, as it makes clear. Calling it an official document doesn't mean they can know Topalov's motives.

As I stated several times above, I don't trust FIDE documents. But if they say that the guarantees were not satisfactory, that is not irrelevant.

mig: "press release from Vladimir Kramnik's management in Germany"
- then koth is in krams managment team?

CB: "which involved the management of both players as well as the main investor of the UEP, originally brought agreement on all issues"
- they blame fide, dont they?

CB: "This offer guaranteed a fee of US $500,000 (net) for each of the two players"
- If you guarante somebody US $500,000 in a contract. dont you go to jail, if you dont pay?
Is the dortmund organizer a fraudster?

realy bad jouralism....not your standard mig

daved: thank you for your point about information.
now, would you minde to give us YOUR point about the information? or was that just another lame comment?

i think if the contract is good enough for topalov and his management it should be good enough for fide!

Where did you see that the guarantees were not satisfactory? Only compensation for a possible loss was!
By the way, may be Kosh if far from diplomacy, but he does not change his mind few times a day, at least on public, as FIDE did for years, and as Danailov and Topalov did immediately after the San Luis.
And to my taste, this press release was regardful enough when describing the situation. And naming it a snippy, predictably vitriolic and one-sided questions you objectivity in this case.
May be I ask too much...

Kramnik people,

before "taking revenge" on Topalov so hard, consider also the fact that he has a contract with FIDE, as all players who played in San Luis, forbidding him to play a World title event without FIDE's approval.

The claim that the proposed match is not for the world title is silly since any lawyer can prove in court what the wording "World Chess Match of the Champions" really means, especially when it involves Topalov.

My reference to Kramnik's management team was sarcastic. The UEP is clearly a construct of Friends of Kramnik. Nothing horribly wrong with this, but it's wrong to believe that this is a neutral group or that their position is free of bias. Nor does it mean they are wrong or mendacious, only that they have an agenda.

This is not zero-sum. I don't have to love FIDE or Topalov to criticize a Kramnik press release! It doesn't take much time in the archives to find what I think about FIDE and most of their statements. Taking sides just means turning off part of your brain.

Perhaps "partisan" is clearer regarding the release. Instead of simply stating what happened on their end they start mind-reading and impugning motives. Distasteful at best, and worse when people start treating it like a news report.

Maybe I am just stupid, but I am curious about the following statement in the press release:

"In addition, both players were to participate in specified sponsoring revenue."

What exactly is the "specified sponsoring revenue"?

It could mean either that:

a) the money is granted by a sponsor, and both players should participate in a certain acivity with the sponsor (interviews, publicity)


b) the money is not granted after all, the mentioned prize found is just what they intent to get, and both players should work to get a sponsor.

It is weirdly worded, but it should mean that if the sponsors receive revenue that it could be shared with the players. E.g. if they sell tickets or otherwise generate income from the event beyond a certain level. Revenue-sharing.

Kramnik, sitting around for a whole year, goes on to say that he is disappointed because "FIDE has done nothing". When FIDE has attracted for its World Championship more than 4,000,000 USD in less than a year and a half (Tripoli, San Luis and Khanty-Mansiysk)!

So at this point, Mig is right. Kramnik needs Topalov/FIDE, not vice-versa. And since Kramnik has declined to participate in the FIDE cycle, where he was invited, it remains on him to make such a good offer so Topalov/FIDE would sleep with him. All the other points of "Friends of Kramnik" are just poor whining...

I am not stupid, I'm just not a native english speaker. Ignore my early post, it's irrelevant.

Here´s my forecast:

Topalov accepts Kramnik´s deal. Fide, in retaliation erases his name from lists and quickly organizes another world championship. In the end the Topalov-Kramnik match does not take place and we have THREE world champions...

just a bad joke,

perhaps many bloggers are not native speakers.. i found the press release in rather poor taste, not professional at all. Already a hint of whinging in it. But somehow, where Kramnik is concerned, I kind of expect that. Come on Vesselin, hold out for a couple of million for yourself, or try for a match with Anand (Kasp not being available). This is getting to be like olden times, anybody who comes up with money has a chance at the crown. Surely some Indian billionaire or consortium of billionaires will come up with some dosh for an Anand - Topalov match. Now that will be evenly matched, and very interesting.

I can understand fide´s concerns. what if Kramnik wins and then in the next cycle he decides, as his influential predecessor did, that he does not agree with match/tournament conditions for defining a world champion, that the world champion title is a personal property, and walks away...?

Dear Giannis, do not put the word out of context. Kramnik clearly stated that FIDE had done nothing to execute it's part of unification agreement. They failed to organize all matches thay had on schedule for Kasparov, Ponomariev, and Kasimdzanov. At the same time, Kramnik got money for his match with Leko a year ago, and he already found the money for the new match with Topalov.

I would say that from legitimacy point of view, yes, Kramnik would need this match more than Topalov, but the main reason is that in public opinion Topalov is the best _NOW_!
But, after Topalov's refusal to play not even for the title (the press release clearly explained this, while mentioning a special clause in case FIDE agrees to the unification meaning of the match), but for money, and for the position of the best player in the public opinion, Topalov plays chicken.

Even if he does not guess so, this is how it looks for many chess enthusiasts. He just loses his credibility. And this is why he needs this match.
He told us he will play with Kramnik for money.
If Kramnik would not find sponsorship, this would be totally different story, and you could say that Kramnik needs this match while Topalov has nothing to prove. But after Kramnik has shown the money, Topalov has no arguable reasons not to play if he wants to save the credibility he has. And his refusal brings credibility back to Kramnik, and away from Topalov.

Dear Mig,
There is nothing "partisan' in this press release. They were silent during negotiations, but after Topalov's official refusal, and after deadline passed, thay had all and every right to publish the details of their offer and Topalov's response if there was no clause to keep these details hidden. This is a common business practice.

Also, I do not understand your sarcasm about 'friends of Kramnik' giving money for the match. Are they cheating? Is it bad in any meaning what they did? Is this bad that Kramnik has friends who can bring money for his matches with Leko and Topalov?

Is it any better that both Kasparov and Ilumzinov (and Danailov, by the way) do not have such friends and have failed to find money to execute on their part of agreement?
Or, may be, it is better to take money from such friends as Caddafi?

By the way, yes, if Kramnik wins, he could take the title from FIDE. Breaking the agreement they have. Or they had.
But he stated many times: the only thing he wants from FIDE, is a regular formal Championship cycle on a reasonable basis. If FIDE builds the cycle, it will hold the title. If they do not... Who will need this FIDE title in this case, anyway?
We'll get the answer only after FIDE Congress if any.

Dear Vlad Kosulin,

why on earth should FIDE try to find money for a Kramnik match? They are clearly saying that they won't, they continue funding their own cycle pretty well and at the same time they say that if Kramnik brings in 1.3 million for Topa and FIDE (1 mil for Topa and 0.3 for FIDE), he has a deal indeed. Don't expect that FIDE/Topalov would give Kramnik a match for peanuts...

I answered all your comments in the post you are quoting Vlad. If you don't think the release is partisan it's only because you agree with it. Nor do I say it's wrong to form a group to help Kramnik put a match together, but it is wrong to pretend it is a neutral entity. In fact, I specifically said that already.

Calling Topalov chicken misses the point. He sees no reason to play Kramnik other than profit. If there isn't enough money, he will refuse. If any other player challenged him for a few hundred thousand he wouldn't play him either. FIDE is also only looking for money. All this unification stuff is fan fantasy. Topalov and FIDE will play it up if it suits them for PR purposes and only then.

It's not a question about "giving" Kramnik a match. It's Kramnik offering to put his title on the line. He doesn't need Topalov or FIDE - if they refuse he can simply move on.

When one side asks it's the other side that gives. "Need" is subjective. Kramnik won't starve without this match, nor will Topalov. But the perception is clearly that Kramnik's career and reputation as a world champion has paled and he "needs" this match more than Topalov. But it's all perception, which in the narrow world of chess doesn't put food on the table like it does in mass-media sports. Chess money is about having capable fundraisers and friends with access to them.

haha.. Acire of Swedish police brutality fame, again living in a parallel universe..

I'm not so sure that Topalov is negotiating "from a position of strenght". In fact, I think he is more at risk than Kramnik, because a couple of bad results and he's completely discredited, like his "predecessors": Kalifman, Kazim, Anand, etc.

The good news is that, with or without a formal match, everything will be clear at Chorus, when the finally meet. If Topalov wins the tournament or their individual matches, he will have greatly legitimized his status as World Champion.
If Kramnik wins the tournament or the individual matches, Topalov's "title" will become a joke.

We only need to wait (while hoping they attend the same tournament, of course!).

That would be nice, but why would another tournament make a difference? Topalov finished ahead of Kramnik in all three 2005 tournaments they played in together with two wins, one draw, and one loss in their individual encounters. Anyway, whoever does worse will say it's only a tournament. Unless one of them scores +4 or -4 I'd agree.

Well, and what if Karjakin will win the Corus? :-)

That will save us a lot of worry and argument! We'll just declare him champion and get it over with!

d: I feel I have to defend acirce from you. Of course, acirce's "parallel universe", as you aptly called it, is quite different from the one many other people inhabit. Some of its characteristics (easily discerned from acirce's numerous posts): Kramnik is good, Kasparov is bad, Karpov is good, Korchnoi is bad, Libya is good, Israel is bad, Stockholm police is the worst of them all, ...

However, you got to admit that to be able to consistently come down on the most ridiculous side of any issue discussed here (as acirce invariably does), one has to possess some kind of a perfect pitch. You have got to be able to find the "correct answer" and then just invert it.

Therefore you should really feel that you are on the right track whenever you disagree with acirce, whereas I, for one, would be seriously concerned if our opinions matched on any subject. And as things stand, I am always looking forward to posts from my favourite contributor.

Sorry for going off-topic...

They propose a match that starts over a year from now. If this match is so compelling then why not play in two or three months? That is enough time for the players to prepare.

I am very disappointed that the match is not taking place. I very sincerely hope that the match will still take place. there is enough time to iron out the problems and come up with solutions.

I have felt that FIDE does not want the match to take place. that they will invent problems so that the match will never take place. this seems to be what Kramnik is saying. so I find it easy to believe.

I think that FIDE needs to make a simple statement of what terms and conditions it would accept. and then allow kramnik to satisfy those conditions.

My understanding is that the reason for the formation of FIDE was to make for a smooth terms and conditons for the World Championship title. but now it seems that FIDE itself is getting to be the problem. that was not the original intent for the formation of FIDE in originally. Fide's job is to bring the 2 players together and make the match take place. but now we have a situation where fide itself wants a big chunk of money for itself. so instead of the 2 players being able to have a match they have to pay a fee to fide to have their match.

oh my how everything is the opposite of what it is suppose to be. and everytime we try to fix something the new fix becomes the problem.

I do not understand why Topalov had to reject the offer. I would have expected that Tolalov would have stated his conditions that needed to be added to the agreement in order for it to be accepted. but no. he does a flat rejection. not a good sign.

I went into the San Luis tournament cheering for Anand and Polgar. I came out a believer in Topalov. but now I am becoming more convinced that Kramnik has been steady as she goes. that he has lived up to all his agreements toward the Prague Agreement and that Fide has failed all their Prague Agreements. so now I am feeling a tug on my heart to support Kramnik as the true no chicken champion. but Topalov is losing his credibility and begining to look like he is afraid of Kramnik. and a true champion is never afraid of anyone. certainly Kasparov was not afraid of anyone.

So now I shall hope for a better day. I shall hope that Kramnik and Topalov come together and have a true Championship Match played under the best of conditions with no problems of any kind.

May the Best Man win and long live the Champion.


I have to agree with you dz!

And, the people who are suggesting that this is not enough money for Topalov and that he is the one in a position of strength are overlooking the fact that the vast majority of us out here who really understand chess history and revere chess do not consider Topalov to be world champion. Topalov should take a match with Kramnik even at 'only' a half mil profit, because if he wins, then he will be ligitimate and future matches will then bring in far more money. For those who would say that Topalov would then lose the title the next year in the FIDE cycle, I would say, 'no' because Topalov would only lose the FIDE title, not the classical title, which he could only lose in a match. Until FIDE gets a cycle going with a true match at the end, the classical title will belong to whomever is the classical champ. Right now it is Kramnik, however lamentable that may be.

I would like to ammend one new idea.

Lawyers and Business Managers are suppose to help get things accomplished. but it too looks more like they are becoming the problems today.

I know how bad a Lawyer can mess up a simple agreement. certainly a business manager can mess it up just as easy.

so now lets see. from what I read there was agreement between Kramnik and Topalov. but then there are 2 lawyers and 2 business managers and Fide and its lawyers. so that makes 6 extra people to satisfy. all this to make it easier for chess players to have a championship match.

in this same way the government keeps growing every year out of control. as less and less gets accomplished. and more and more arguments come about.

and of course how could we conduct wars against so many people without all this assistance.

Dear Giannis,
Let me repeat: Kasparov, FIDE, and Danailov all failed to find money for matches Kasparov - Pomomariev, and Kasparov - Kasimdzanov.

May be we just mean something different when saying 'partisan'.
Also, I do not see the Topalov's position much stronger than Kramnik's one. It was, until he refused to play. Time is going away, he will lose his title soon, and it is hard to expect he repeats the performance from the first half of San Luis.
As for Topalov's score vs. Kramnik, let's see last 3 years:

All games
2003 +0=1-3
2004 +0=3-2
2005 +2=2-2
Total +2=6-7

Only classical ones
2003 +0=0-1
2004 +0=2-1
2005 +2=1-1
Total +2=3-3

Yes, Topalov was unquestionable leader during year 2005, but this was just a single year, and this year is already in the past.

Yes, and which is a better indicator of future results, the last year or the last three? And I was only pointing out in response to another poster that Corus won't solve anything if the last year's worth of tournaments haven't. Individual career score is not an issue in this debate. Having them both in the same tournament is interesting and will give a little extra spice to their game at Corus, but it's certainly not going to resolve anything, least of all to whomever does worse!

If Kramnik makes another even score and Topalov racks up +5 it will add to the circumstantial evidence but the "Kramnik is champ forever" crowd will never change their minds. The same people will now start the "Topalov is chicken" garbage. FIDE has veto power, Topalov has nothing to gain other than quick cash. Why should he break his contract with FIDE for a match with Kramnik?

What is weird about this is that according to FIDE's own release, they are planning to allow anyone over 2700 challenge the champion to a match. Why wouldn't Kramnik qualify? Just because he has a title FIDE insists is irrelevant?! The contradictions continue to pile up.

Mig, the one year results can have nothing in common with next or with previous year results. We both know this.
And even during so successful year 2005 Topalov managed to get only an even score vs. Kramnik.
And he could not win a single game vs. Vlad during 2 previous years!
He has a long way to prove his assumed superiority. He is not Kasparov yet (and already), and has to behave with caution.

Your definition of superiority must be quite different from the usual one. Higher rating and more tournament wins are the usual measures. You can't expect everyone to play a 200-game match against everyone else; it would take too much time. So we have the rating list, games, and tournaments. And unless you think players never improve or have long stretches of good or poor form, results matter when you talk about superiority and what matters is now. I'm not talking past or future, but now. Otherwise it's as obscure as discussing "greatness" or best" or any other historical debate.

I don't think Topalov would be a prohibitive favorite in a match with Kramnik even if they played next week. But favorite, certainly. Why? Recent results and rating. Anyway, this is beside any relevant point right now. I'm just wondering how FIDE will continue to justify denying Kramnik a match if he keeps showing up with money.

Dear Mig,
FIDE does not have a veto power, and Topalov can play without breaking the contract. The only suggestion FIDE made is that in case of his loss he will lose the right to automatically qualify for the next FIDE Championship. Assuming this place will be taken by Kramnik, may be?
What is funny, a bunch of people, including you, named Kramnik a chicken for not giving Kasparov a rematch (read: going against at least 2 contracts they signed, the London one, and the Praga agreement).
And you do not like when I name Topalov chicken because he said before he is willing to play with Kramnik for money, but after he was shown the money, he says he will not play, because the amount is not enough to cover his social damages in case of loss! Is this spirit of a winner? Or a whiner?
Mig, I never said a bad word about Topalov before yesterday. Honestly, I did not expect him to behave so unconsistently. I thought he deserves respect. Now I see I was wrong. His word worth nothing.

Mig, FIDE does not deny the match. FIDE just does not recognise this match. They want just money, and put nothing on table on exchange. And we can live with this.
The real force who denied the match is Danailov, not even Topalov. They are sure Kramnik can bring them more money. I hope they are right. Danailov should learn from Ponomariov-Kasparov epic, and not repeat the same mistakes.
But if Topalov denies the next offer, also, and Kirsan will be re-elected, the story is gone, IMHO. Kramnik will play with Anand.

When I say 'superiority', I mean not a single tournament or a single year. I mean a long run. Topalov is in the beginning yet.

You are still operating with only half the story, but appear happy with that half and so don't question the other. What happens if Topalov plays Kramnik outside of FIDE? What have we gained then? This is why I criticize FIDE and not Topalov. He can't help the unification situation alone. I'm not clear what you want.

As I said at the time, I don't think it's quite just to treat as a binding contract the things Topalov and Danailov said the first day or two after winning San Luis. It seemed clear to me - based on 150 years of history - that they would get a little title drunk just like every previous champion. Tossing FIDE into the mix is another problem, and playing Kramnik isn't the same as playing anyone else because of the semantics.

I'm waiting to see what FIDE says, and Topalov as well. Kramnik's publicist's interpretation of reports of FIDE's email to Topalov's agent isn't exactly sourced reporting!

Why do you call us the "Kramnik is champ forever" crowd? Many of us are very unhappy with Kramnik's weak results as champion and his unwillingness to be an active champ, and some of us even actively dislike the man. I would not say that we are a Kramnik-forever crowd, but rather that we revere the true, wonderful history of the world champion title and don't like it being mauled by FIDE and other people who don't care about the title retaining any worth.

Not necessary to capitalize all the letters in my name. It's short for "Miguel" and not an acronym. Thanks.

I love the classical title, but do not appreciate what Kramnik has done with it. Not because of his results, but because of things like Dortmund as qualifier, saying Prague is bad then good then dead then alive, and relentless statements that he doesn't care (about winning, about losing, take your pick).

I do take your point, and I share the dream of salvaging something of the classical tradition. I don't want to be unfair to those who love the classical tradition and worry about FIDE because I'm one of them. I'm just not convinced that Kramnik is an essential part of it. It would still be my preference, but if FIDE sets up a new classical cycle (especially if under new leadership), which Kramnik has failed to do in five years, then who is your classical champion?

The classical championship is based on a credible claim to being the best player in the world. Pre-1950 this was done by challenge match (poorly) and post-1950 by rigorous system. Kramnik had those two ways to keep the classical tradition alive. By far the best, but of course most difficult, was to set up a cycle that guaranteed he would face a legit challenger. (Broad and rigorous.) Failing that, to go back to the pre-FIDE champions and play a match against the strongest possible challenger to eliminate any doubt of the classical champs credibility as #1. (Which is what Kasparov did in 2000 when he couldn't get a cycle together.) Instead he took the easy way out.

So in short, I have trouble seeing Kramnik as the savior of the classical tradition by this point. The long match alone isn't enough. For the sake of neatness I would like to see a unification match with Kramnik, but where we go from there is far more important. If there is no classical cycle on the other side it's all for nothing. Equally, if FIDE (or anyone else) puts together a classical cycle I'll take that with or without Kramnik.

My jibes are more directed at the jihadists who refuse to be at all pragmatic about the situation. They would rather be right than make progress. Saying we can't live without Kramnik hands him the power to stagnate everything, which is the same thing we fear about FIDE. Some feel Kramnik has done enough to merit further investment, or that we have no choice. I just want to push for holding to ideals and systems, not people or organizations who regularly betray those ideals and systems.

Well, I am pretty much in agreement with all that you wrote here, except that I see no way of making any progress with FIDE in its current state. Given that truth, I don't see any reason to talk about the classical title in any way except the traditional sense, ie. if we don't have the preferred cycle then we have to go with the older method of setting up matches. I agree with you that if FIDE got new leadership AND set up a true cycle (as long as it finishes with a match and not a tournament!) then FIDE should get the title back. Who would be the classical champ at that moment would depend, IMO, on whether Kramnik successfully continued to defend his title against one of the best challengers (Topalov, Anand, Kasparov) or if he just sat around waiting. In the latter case I would prefer to say the title is vacant and go from there. No matter how much I enjoyed Topalov's work in San Luis, I am not going to consider him the classical world champion based upon a tournament.

Knight_tour your arguments amaze me, because of the depth of the research you must have conducted:
1. "the vast majority of us out here who really understand chess history and revere chess do not consider Topalov to be world champion"
The vast majority? What kind of poll have you conducted? What is the statistical deviation? What is the confidence level that your sample is truly representative? What organisation did you use to conduct this poll? Gallup possibly?

2. "Topalov should take a match with Kramnik even at 'only' a half mil profit, because if he wins, then he will be ligitimate and future matches will then bring in far more money."

First of all, how do you know? Have you contacted any potential sponsors? Secondly, how can you say so unequivocally that Topalov's legitimacy is dependent on his winning a match with Kramnik? Are you using the results from your first poll?

3. "Given that truth, I don't see any reason to talk about the classical title in any way except the traditional sense, ie. if we don't have the preferred cycle then we have to go with the older method of setting up matches."

So which is it? If the classical champion depended only on matches, then the "older method of setting up matches" would be exactly the same right? If instead you are alluding to the fact that the modern classical champion's title was composed of two parts equally important, namely that of rigourous qualification and a match with the incumbent, then Kramnik was never classical champion.

My friend, stop being so full of it, and stop pretending to represent all of humanity who appreciate the classical tradition, and finally please stop with the bogus logic.

It is you who are being insulting and lacking in common sense. Much of real science is based around continuous observation, and I have spent my entire, quite long, chess life observing the game I love quite carefully, and listening to what people say and reading what they write about chess. So yes, I can see that those with common sense and a knowledge of chess history are in favor of a match for determining the world title. It is mainly the young or those ignorant or uncaring about chess history that are willing to toss everything out the window and defile the world title. It is you who should get off your high horse and stop insulting those who truly love chess.

ok sport, guess you dont get any of the points i was making. No prob.

Dear Mig,
You cruticize Kramnik for taking an approach when a new Challenger is decided by a sport factor (win the Dortmund, 2002)? He did not have enough resources and power to organize a new full blown cycle, and choose a single tournament as qualifier. He did his best to follow the principles of fair play. You do not appreciate this. You name this an easy way out. Well, this is your thought and your right.
You also say that Kasparov played a match in 2000 against the strongest possible challenger to eliminate any doubt of the classical champs credibility as #1 when he couldn't get a cycle together.
Mig, he played with Kramnik not because this was a strongest possible challenger. If fact, Vlad had lost to Shirov in a cycle organized by Kasparov. And you name Kasparov's approach of breaking his own cycle results down better?
Mig, Kasparov had choosen Kramnik only based on financial attractiveness of their match. This can be hardly named better solution. If Kramnik lost, Kasparov would be legitimate not because he won a single match vs. Kramnik, but because he was a clear No.1 for a long time. After Kramnik won, his legitimacy was mostly based on a win vs. Kasparov, the No.1, but his legitimacy still suffers from the fact he lost in qualifier to Shirov.
Who knows, may be Kasparov had choosen Kramnik exactly because Vlad lost to Shirov, and his legitimacy and superiority in case of win would be questionable, to make the re-match necessary for Kramnik from PR point of view? Who knows. Only Garry himself.
If we compare what Kasparov, Kramnik, and FIDE did during last 5 years, Kramnik's approach, even being far from ideal, was the most fair and consistent, IMHO.
I hope Topalov will play Kramnik. If not, Topalov's legitmacy will go down, and Vlad will have to find a way to get a new Challenger for a CLassical title. Even if this will be a single tournament like Linares 2006.
If they play, everything depends on FIDE Congress. Honestly, I am not sure the unification is a good deal if Kirsan becomes re-elected. The new cycle can be easily turned into a joke, and we'll have no signle force to oppose this.
May be, the best way for Kramnik would be to wait until elections, and only after this to choose what to do. But this is not what he decided.

"rigourous qualification", yeah, like that was the norm pre-FIDE. But if you want to look at it that way, sure... Kramnik qualified for his match by rating after the Kasparov-Shirov match fell through, and Topalov qualified for San Luis by rating after Kasimdzhanov-Kasparov fell through.

I don't agree with what Mig said earlier that if Kramnik does badly in Corus he can just shake it off as another tournament. He hasn't done well in a while and if he does poorly again I think everyone will have just had enough. It is my view that he needs to place in Corus to have any credibility whatsoever. With the San Luis boys + Ivanchuk breathing down his neck that definitely is going to be a stern test.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 15, 2005 12:51 PM.

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