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Elista Entourage

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The FIDE website has announced the teams Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov will bring with them to their 12-game reunification match in Elista, starting September 23. The event page also includes a small version of the official logo, which includes one of the homelier animals on the planet, the improbably proboscised saiga antelope, which apparently roam the Kalmyk steppe. Much like the world championship it represents, the saiga is endangered and somewhat deformed.

But we'll take it, won't we? What choice to we have? 12 games and unification and a tournament instead of a match and no candidates, but at least it's chess, classical chess, and it should be good and interesting chess at that. If Kramnik is in 2000-02 form this won't be an easy ride for the favored Topalov. If the FIDE champion does get into trouble it won't be due to a lack of support. He's showing up with an entourage that would make Jay-Z proud, nine members. They include his longtime Bulgarian second Ivan Cheparinov and, a surprise, US champion Alexander Onischuk! The other player on the team is Spaniard Vallejo Pons.

Kramnik's team has undergone some changes from his last big match, Brissago 2004 against Leko. Spain's Miguel Illescas is the only player to be on both, and he was also on Kramnik's team in the London 2000 match against Kasparov. Bareev was there in 2000 and 2004 but is gone now, replaced by fellow Russians Motylev and Rublevsky. Legendary sports trainer Valery Krylov - who once worked with Karpov's teams as well as Soviet Olympic teams - is with Kramnik again. (I have his brilliant business card and when I find it I'll scan it in.) No sign of Arfo Aziz, the kickboxing champion bodyguard he had with him in Bahrain. (Kramnik's seconds there were Christopher Lutz and Tigran Nalbandian.)


Kramnik's entourage certainly looks more impressive on "paper". It should be interesting to see how that plays out during the match.

I'm still going with Topolov, but Kramnik has turned up the heat recently and the match should prove to be more exciting than what I had envisioned a few months back.

With their contrasting styles I'm looking forward to it; just wish it was longer. (minimum 20 games).

If I was Kramnik I'd hire Mirko Cro Cop or Jet Li as a bodyguard (maybe the Undertaker for show).

I'll go with Kramnik beating Topalov 6.5 to 5.5. Topa will try very hard to beat Kramnik, but going by their past records, Kramnik has Topa's number.

Only one week to the match, and still no word on live transmission of the games. I'd rather have FIDE commissioning the live transmission to one of those erotic chess pieces web sites than no live transmission at all.

An event eagerly anticipated by most of the chess world is greeted by Mig with all the enthusiasm of a trip to the dentist. "But we'll take it, won't we? What choice do we have?" "But at least it's chess."

Won't there be plenty of time for moaning about the next (goofy) cycle after the match?

Even if Kirsan sponsored the match, even if Kramnik's playing and Kasparov isn't, even if the match is not 24 games, or 20, or 16, or 14, but only 12, even if you're not on site, is it really that difficult to muster enthusiasm for your sport's greatest event?

koster, never get tired of trolling?

I generally like Mig's comments, and dislike Koster's, but this time I think Greg is right.

In some ways a lack of enthusiasm about the Kramnik-Topalov match is indicative of possible events in the future. A. The match gets decided by rapid or blitz games. B. This will be the last head to head match for the World Chess Championship. C. Winning a tournament will be enough to claim the World's Chess Champion statis. D. No enthusiasm (Web page) from the host and his city as well. No, an eerie apocalyptic feeling I'm sensing about the future of our beloved World Chess Championship traditions is on the horison. The 2000 Kasparov-Kramnik Match was short enough with 15 games. (Game 16 cancelled) Kramnik-Leko 14 Games, and now Kramnik-Topalov 12 Games. The fuse is burning down. On the bright side though, we will have 12 Games between players of equal strength and prime years of 31 each. Kinda like a boxing match with fighters fighting in the same weight division. Many of the past World Chess Championship matches were played by players from era's. Excluding the Anand, and Short matches, Garry was either 12 years younger than his opponent or 12 years older! But it is great for chess that we have Kramnik-Topalov now with both in their prime. I'm still gonna have faith that with a great match, Kirsan will somehow come to his senses (maybe he needs to have another abduction) and not totally ruin, if he hasn't already, the World Chess Championship tradition of head to head play.

Speaking of world championships and candidates, any word on those other candidates matches? I haven't heard much about that in a while....

If you actually read my post you'll see I'm enthusiastic about the chess. I'm angry and disappointed about the format and the organization and the future. I'm not going to stick my head in the sand, or, as in koster's case, up my ass, and make happy clapping noises of ignorance when there is something very wrong and something I would like to see change.

As during the KO events, semi-rapid Olympiads, and other events that Ilyumzhinov's FIDE has created and/or attempted to destroy, I'm always eager to follow the chess. I love chess. That doesn't mean I'm going stop criticizing the problems. It's fatalistic and/or stupid to ignore or be happy about this being, as scheduled, the last world championship match we'll ever see.

I think you left somebody out - Rybka!

Saying that someone's got their head stuck up their ass isn't trolling as long as it's Mig who's saying it.

Nine days before the London 2000 match, how would we have reacted to someone obsessing about Shirov or Anand getting screwed, or the reduction of the match length from 20 to 16 games, or the absence of an established system for choosing the next candidate? We'd have rightly told them to give it a rest, for chrissake.

The day's news is the Elista entourage. The short match is not news, matches-into-tournament is not news, no-scheduled-candidates matches is not news. This-may-be-the-last-WCC-match is not news. We've been over these things a hundred times and will go over them a hundred more times.

The news is the Elista entourage. Where'd Bareev and Svidler go? Why Motylev and Rublevsky; Vallejo Pons and Onischuk?

There are awful problems ahead for chess, but do we have to obsess about them every moment? Is it not possible to set aside chess politics for a few weeks and enjoy this spectacle?

I'm not trolling, I was insulting you. Watching you twist every post and troll for Kasparov in every thread got old long ago.

Before the 1993 match, the 1995 match, and the 2000 match, just about everyone was obsessing (and you call my two sentences obsessing) about the duration of the matches, the absence of qualification, the PCA and FIDE, and the implications for the future. I covered the London 2000 match and just like everyone else I wrote extensively about the too-short length and Shirov's claims and Anand's declining to play, and FIDE, etc. Why? Because I got hundreds of messages per day about the match from fans all over the world and they wanted to talk about it.

Happy-yappy cheerleading - which you seem to be demanding from me despite your nearly 100% record of being nothing but critical - is unknown. It would reduce everything to "Golly gee! Two players are going to play chess! CHESS! WOWOWOWOWOW!!" We know that.

We'll be covering the chess aspects of the match in great detail at ChessBase and I'm sure I'll get into it here, too. But this blog has always been more about behind the scenes and the debates around the games. There's no reason to stop that, hold hands and sing folk songs together when there are still legitimate concerns.

Wouldn't it be wild if Michael had "dissociative identity disorder" (i.e. split/multiple personalities) that manifested itself in two diametrically opposed persons...Mig and greg koster? I mean, is greg really a separate and distinct human being, or merely Mig's alter ego? Has anyone ever seen them at one place at the same time?

That's perhaps the most insulting thing anyone has ever said about me, and that's saying something. Please don't feed the trolls.

What price Kramnik using the QGA extensively during the match? Can't see it being his Bb5+ Sicilian expertise or his shirts Rublevsky's been hired for.

Evidently 'troll' means something different on this blog from anywhere else I've seen. In my lexicon it means 'expressing an opinion the poster does not hold, possibly in a persona which is not the poster's true persona, in order to attract, usually predictable, comment and response'. Over here it seems to mean something along the lines of 'expressing the same opinion over and over again', albeit the opinion appear to be genuinely held. Is this a further part of my transatlantic cybereducation, or this blog indeed unique.

I can tell you what my lack of enthusiasm to date is partially about. Lack of belief it would happen. I've lost count of the number of world title matches announced and then cancelled since a TWIC exclusive that Kasparov vs Anand was in Dortmund, the Cologne (you won't find either of these matches in your database) and it goes on.

Any bets on Radjabov - Topalov taking place? Should I be getting enthused about that yet?

So its 15 times bitten twice shy for me. That and the almost complete lack of publicity or confirmation until a news report about Putin and Ilyumzhinov meeting.

Now we're getting some interesting stuff and it should be a good match and leave us with one champion which is pretty darn important.

But it does lack the weight of authenticity that used to accompany the old world title series (that's probably an indication of just how fantastic some of them were and how rare the format was) and sheer anticipation, none of which will matter once we get into it.

The old 24 game matches were great and if we get a really good cycle going and the potential of two closely matched opponents there may be a commerical appetite for it again. But then again we may simply be in a different era where many long world championship formats in a variety of sports have been shortened.

this match has a problem in my view. if topalov wins i think the tittle will be reunited and he will play in future fide world championships. but what happens if kramnik wins? will he play "under" fide? he was very vague about it. worst case scenario: kramnik wins, refuses to play in next fide cycle, fide produces a new champion and we are where we started!

Greg Koster: "The news is the Elista entourage. Where'd Bareev and Svidler go? Why Motylev and Rublevsky; Vallejo Pons and Onischuk?"
Exactly my opinion (see, I'm not trolling...). Anybody has any idea? rdh's hint about the QGA (and the Bb5-Sicilian) is a good start.

"but what happens if kramnik wins? will he play "under" fide?"

Yes, he will.

"he was very vague about it."

No, he wasn't.

A few points: I thought Mig's post was entirely appropriate. It is possible to be excited about the chess while moaning about the process that got us here. And Greg, who usually posts only to be critical, is about the last person who has a right to complain that Mig is too critical.

I did wonder, however, about Mig's use of the phrase "the favored Topalov." There doesn't seem to be any consensus favoring him. If anything, I think Kramnik is the slight favorite, given his experience in long matches and his career plus against Topalov. I think Topalov would have been the clear favorite, had Kramnik not shown in his last couple of events that he has fully recovered from his illness.

Lastly, Kramnik HAS said publicly that if he wins the match, he WILL play in the next WCC tournament. But despite the "end-of-an-era" comments, somehow I do not think this will be the last one-on-one match for a WC.

The match is too short, the first one to definitely fall from short to too short category.

And the sad thing about this match is regardless of what happens on the board, we already know the most important outcome: Kramnik's surrender of classic world championship cycle to the man bent on destroying it. But hey, he got a cook and half a million dollars while I am left posting.

Unlike Brissago and London where the future of chess was unclear, this time the future is clear: a world title which is annulled every year or two and placed in a roundrobin tournament. And it sucks.


i missed kramnik saying he'll play in next cylce. can sb provide link please?

If Mig says someone's got his head stuck up his ass, and if he intends it as an insult, it is not trolling. Does that mean that if he intends it as a compliment it IS trolling? How confusing!

Kasparov has departed the serious chess scene and good luck to him. I raise his name now and then mostly to encourage you to carry over some of your high standards, fairness, understanding, and enthusiasm to your reporting of players not as gifted as he: in this instance, Kramnik and Topalov and their match.


If you bet $100 on Kramnik at Betsson you'd win back your stake plus $180. If you bet $100 on Topalov you'd win your stake plus only $120, making him the favorite in that venue.

Evidently, Kramnik's team of "coaches" is more impressive than Topalov's (Illescas, Motylev, Rublevsky vs Cheparinov, Onischuk, Vallejo) and besides Kramnik has included somethin that is especially important: A chef.

I wonder why Topalov, whose team has so many "team members" -which I have no idea what they do (bodyguards?)- didn't open space for a chef. They are playing in Russian land (well, ex USSR), which is Kramnik's territory, so this is not going to be impartial ... and food is very important. Not having control of the food you are going to eat, looks like an opportunity for ...

Equally evidently, Topalov's team of sorcerers is more impressive than Kramnik's, 5 to 0 to be precise, to ward off any food related or other issues

Does anyone suspect that some of Topalov's team members might be move-relayers to the computers in their room? Just kiding (:. But Topalov's confidence at winning or coming back at any tournament and his reckless and then fritz-like plays does make people wondering.

And the other side of the coin

--I can't think of a more exciting match-up since 1995's Kasparov-Anand. We get to see two men at the top of their game neither of whom we know what to expect from.

Kramnik, the master of conservative gameplay who is the best at putting the killer squeeze on, who makes few errors, who has performed very well in his last two competitive tournaments
--and who also is coming back from a serious illness, with nobody sure how well his gameplay has recovered

Topalov, who has made possible what we haven't seen since Garry 3 years ago and what we didn't expect to see: winning (or co-winning) everything he plays in, playing the kind of exciting dynamic chess we weren't sure could succeed in today's era, beating everybody who stood in his path
--and yet..during most of his triumphal months Kramnik was definitely way out of shape. And even in 2005, his face-to-face result with Kramnik is not very good.

Bartender, I will have twelve shots of this. No chaser, please, I saw Kirsan make it.

This is really exciting. It wouldn't surprise me if Kramnik proves that when he is playing well he can smash Topalov, or to see Topalov overreach (many of his wins were a case of the opponent outblundering Veselin) and finish the match with something like +3-0=9

And on the other hand, it would not be at all unexpected for us to see that Kramnik of 2005 is not gone, that Vladimir will discover that Topalov is a player a notch or two above Jobavas and Alexandrovs of this world and we will say, the King is dead, long live Kirsan with a +4-2=6.

This match is very big. It must be in the top 3 events of the last 35 years. The winner will gain influence. How will that influence be used?

Topalov has said he likes all the changes to chess that Kirsan has made.

We all know Kramnik is in the other camp. He even helped establish an organizattion to counter FIDE's stranglehold.

If Topalov wins then it is all over and I agree with the pessimism. If Kramnik can pull it off though then I think *worst* case he will have to win one more tournament before telling FIDE to stick thier tournament championship idea. (although I don't know what the contracts say)

If Kramnik wins who knows maybe he can somehow get out of putting the title into the tournament. Did Kramnik agree that he would play in a tournament that includes *candidates winners* or whoever Kirsan hand picks? We have seen this argument before and whatever each individual may think of its fairness it is pretty well established under contract law that its a valid arguemnt. One side of a contract cant just ignore thier responsibilities and rewrite what the other party needs to do. Given FIDE's track record they couldn't keep up thier end of a bargain to save thier lives.

Kasparov may have retired but he is still making all sorts of public statements, and being a cheerleader for Topalov. He still has influence. He could have stuck to his principles he espoused when he was a player - a match is the only way to be WC. If he had said Topalov was not the WC because a Tournament championship is a joke, this tourny WC idea would have had a lot less steam. But instead he took every opportunity to say Topalov was so clearly the WC that there was no need to even play a match with Kramnik. So I do hold Kasparov accountable for his own words and the effect they have had on Chess.

"This match is very big. It must be in the top 3 events of the last 35 years."

I disagree. "Bigger" WC matches IMO would include, at the very least, Fischer-Spassky, Karpov-Kasparov I and II, and Kasparov-Kramnik. If we focus on political implications and sub-plots, matches like Kasparov-Short (didn't that start the schism?) and Karpov-Korchnoi (Baguio, with Korchnoi's son in trouble and the various psychics present) also come into consideration.

Frankly, from a pure chess standpoint, I consider this a lackluster WC match. I'd rank it above Kramnik-Leko (wow) and Kasparov-Short, but not much else. I hope the games will prove me wrong...

I would consider it , potentially, the most exciting world championship match since Kasparov - Karpov Sevillia match in 1987.

Team member could include many things including chef.


What influence can Kasparov have with Kirsan?

--A little prize fund give and take by Kirsan and/or Kasparov might have brought off the Kasim match. Their inability or unwillingness to clinch the deal exemplifies their relationship.

--Kirsan's "boss" is Putin. Assuming arguendo that Kasparov's political adventures make any difference to anyone, why would Kirsan accommodate Putin's antagonist?

--Even after Kirsan had the winning votes in his pocket, Kasparov gave a speech endorsing Kirsan's opponent.

After 1993, any responsible FIDE leader would have taken reasonable precautions to preclude its champions from running off with the title. And Kasparov has acknowledged some responsibility for destabilizing the chess world, which, in turn, set the stage for Kirsan's unfortunate experiments.

But it's unfair to blame Kasparov for the particular shape of those experiments, the short time controls, the knockouts, San Luis, or the match-into-tournament format.

"I would consider it , potentially, the most exciting world championship match since Kasparov - Karpov Sevillia match in 1987."

I'll grant it that upside, but "potentially" is the key word here. Topalov is sure to mix things up, but with Kramnik's recent inactivity and illness compounding several years of dull play and lackluster results, I doubt there will be too much excitement. I expect VK to try to draw every Black game, and attempt to squeeze out a couple of technical endgame wins with White. Again, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Post-1970 "events" (vague combination of surrounding circumstances and actual games played):

1) Spassky-Fischer (Idiosyncratic loner defeats Soviet machine.)

1-tie) Karpov-Kasparov I and II (Model communist and bright-eyed rebel pummel each other for months. Kasparov at the brink. A perilous, excruciating run of nongames. Kasparov's comeback. Campo's intervention. Kasparov's victory.)

3) Kasparov-Karpov III and IV (The greatest rivalry in chess history continues. Two more close matches and a must-win win.)

3-tie) Kasparov-Kramnik (15-year reign ended. Greatest attacker shut down. But only 15 games played.)

5) Karpov-Korchnoi I and II (Soviet machine defeats defector.)

6) Kasparov-Anand (Match begins with eight draws. Kasparov's rook-sac.)

7) Kramnik-Leko (A handful of good games, several nongames, a must-win win, a tight match but not enough games.)

7-tie) Kasparov-Short (Fighting chess, but a lopsided fight.)

If Kramnik wins he'll have succeeded in three WCC matches; a record exceeded by only Steinitz, Lasker, Alekhine, Botvinnik, and Kasparov.

If he loses he'll drop into a much larger pool of champions who succeeded once or twice.

Well, I have to agree with Mig on this one. As much fun as these 12 games are going to be for us chess fans (and they probably will be, given that Kramnik seems to have regained his old form and that Topalov is as strong as ever), there is always that feeling that this may be THE LAST World championship match. There is also that ridiculous rapid tie-break clause (and I will not consider Topalov the World champion even if he wins the rapid tie-break, simply because Steinitz's title by definition cannot be lost by playing rapid games). So yeah, I think one can be excited about the match, but it is hard to forget that these 12 games but one cannot forget that these 12 games may be the last 12 games in the glorious history of chess World championship that has given chess fans so much drama and excitement over the last 120 years.

I only hope that whoever wins refuses to put the title on the line in the FIDE-organized tournament. I hope that chess world championship title will live but at this point it is not looking very promosing.

What I suggest to Mig is to make some sort of tribute to 120 years of chess World championship play - perhaps by making a little blog entry on each world champion before each game - Steinitz before game 1, Lasker before game 2, etc. I know, there are 14 World champions (may be 15 after its over) and only 12 games, but there are a few extra rest days in the end where everyone can be squeezed in. Or maybe, since we have 120 years of WC history and 12 games, then maybe split them into decades - one before each game. One way or another, I think its about time to do some tribute to chess World Championship matches - just so they get the send off they deserve.

I meant the 35 years to be *after* the Fischer Spassky match. I would include in most important matches the Kasparov deeper blue. I know this doesn't mean much for us true fans but it meant allot for chess. Anyway I don't mean to quibble. I would concede its tough to say how imporatant a match will be before its even played. Nevertheless World champions (especially of the undisputed variety) have influence. Here I see big differences between the paths Topalov and Kramnik would take chess.

How much ifluence does Kasparov have on Kirsan? About as much as anyone short of Putin. Clearly Putin is in a class by himself with influence over Kirsan. But Kirsan did go from KO lottery to double round robin without Putin. If you read the interviews of Kirsan talking about including even more players in the KOs, not less, you can piece together that this was most likely not just his idea. He was influenced.
Again this is nothing close to Putins influence but Kirsan nevertheless must have heard something from someone or he never would have even announced the candidates matches etc.

How many people have more influence on chess then Kasparov? We have Kirsan and Putin and maybe some other FIDE insiders but outside of that there are few. His voice still carries even though he has retired.

Morever there is nothing unfair about posting his comments. Is it unfair to Kasparov that his comments may have had some influence on this mess. If his comments did not have as much influence as I claim, its no credit to kasparov. He still made the stupid comments.

History may witness its first all-draws WCC title match. This is a very short match. Kasparov-Kramnik 2000 had more games yet only two were decisive. Kramnik is a specialist at achieving a draw with Black; especially by using the Petroff.

If Kramnik goes up by one victory early on, Kramnik will likely play to achieve draws from then on out.

Topalov may open 1.d24 more often than usual, to avoid the Petroff.

Any WCC title match is big and exciting. I am cheering for both players, but especially for Kramnik.

Yet there is relatively little at stake for Kramnik in this 1-on-1 match, given that he is defending his World Chess Champion title. Even if Kramnik retains his title by defeating Topalov, Kramnik automatically loses his title next year, due to Kirsan's harsh contract (that Topalov insisted Kramnik sign).

Oh sure, by defeating Topalov, Kramnik would be given a birth into a 2007 tournament in exchange for giving up his title and putting it into the tournament's communal kitty. But by historical standards this is a wildly unprecedented usurpation, a kind of confiscation of Kramnik's title.

The following scenario would bring the most shame to Kirsan, and to the chess world. Suppose Kramnik wins this match. Then in 2007 Kramnik finishes second in the FIDE championship tournament. But the tourney winner is someone whom Kramnik defeated in their head to head games during the tournament.

The tourney winner would be happy enough. But the legitimacy and prestige of his claims to be the new WCC may be uninspiring to many, and will be judged suspiciously by history.

To make matters even worse, people would point out that the 2007 tournament winner did not have to compete against the tournament's most recent winner, Topalov in San Luis 2005, as Kirsan's contract forbad Topalov from participating. What a dumb mess.

All this could mean the title will become dis-unified mere months after it supposedly becomes unified in 2006/10.
I do not that I agree Kramnik's title is split in the first place. IMHO, the only re-unification is between Kirsan and his legal *control* of the WCC title.

Unlike Kramnik, you and I are not legally bound to obey or agree with Kirsan. We cannot be bullied by Kirsan's claims that the 2007 tournament will have transferred the WCC title to whomever.

The more likely scenario: Topalov will defeat Kramnik. Topalov will play in the 2007 FIDE championship tournament. Topalov will not win the 2007 tournament, and Topalov will encourage history to treat the 2007 tournament winner as the new WCC title holder.

Kramink ave never lost in the title match yet. Is he left alone in the list above? I don't rememebr, may be Steinitz had never lost, also.

Kramnik-Topalov is not a legitimate World Championship match - for the simple reason that Kramnik has not been a legitimate Champion since 2002 (in the Fischer-Karpov-Kasparov-Kramnik line). After coming second to Kasparov, and losing to him with his Berlin Defence, at Astana 2001, Kramnik realised he would probably lose to Kasparov in a rematch. From this point on, he, like Alekhine with Capablanca, did everything possible to avoid a rematch, while still trying to give the appearance of being a legitimate World Champion. He thus organised the Dortmund 'Candidates' event with a quite unacceptable format - one almost identical to the format of the FIDE 'World Championships', even though he had until then, agreeing with Kasparov, heavily criticised this format. This was done so that the event would be unacceptable to Kasparov, who would thus refuse to play in it. Kramnik can thus be considered to have forfeited his title in 2002 (the time of the Dortmund event) for the same reason that Fischer forfeited his title in 1975 - not offering acceptable conditions for the defence of it. It is amazing that so much of the chess world seems to be fooled by Kramnik's charade. Kramnik further delegitimised his 'title' by announcing in 2004 that he would refuse to play the winner of the intended Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match - thus again weasling out of a likely match with Kasparov. But soon after Kasparov's retirement, Kramnik apparantly has no trouble at all in agreeing to play the FIDE Champion. Funny that.
Topalov's ethics, too, leave a lot to be desired. Knowing that he is not good enough to hold the title for long, he has decided to exploit it to the financial max, and hang the damage to chess. Thus, following the money, he professes to support the nightmare Ilyumzhinov; and accepts an illegitimate and highly damaging to chess title challenge from Radjabov.
A plague on both their houses.

Chris B, "It is amazing that so much of the chess world seems to be fooled by Kramnik's charade."
No, dont assume that just because the usual suspects sound out loud and louder, that they are in the maojority. I havent conducted a poll, but the majority I've spoken to on the subject havent been taken in. Personally I'm less critical of Topalov, because I dont see what else he could do. He was damned if he played, and damned if he didnt.

Chris and d--

--As Mig will tell you, Kasparov's refusal to play at Dortmund had little or nothing to do with its format: he was uninterested in playing in any qualifier, insisting, instead, on a rematch. I'm not sure that Mig agreed with Kasparov's rematch stand, and I'm quite sure he'll not accuse Kramnik of cowardice for failing to agree to it; so if Mig doesn't mind, I'm with him on this point.

--Kramnik never refused to play the winner of Kasparov-Kasim. He said he didn't see the point in doing so: evidently because FIDE had not carried through on its promises to implement a new cycle...and he'd be entrusting the title to an organization which had not committed to preserving the classical title.

--But nowadays neither Kramnik, nor Topalov can be blamed for "selling out" to FIDE. Some time after Kramnik-Leko was played, FIDE "tied up" all the top players. It would thus be nearly impossible to find a) an available top-rated WCC challenger and b) funding for such a match.

kramnik said he didnt see the point of playing a rematch against kasparov coz there was no cycle organised? well there was no cycle in 2000 either. pity he didnt make the same point then. it is obvious at the time of the of the kasparov-kasim match he was preparing excuses to prepair bail out. after there was no kasparov-kasim match he quickly changed the record and went on to say how he was ready to play.

It is so fun to read when Kramnik is blamed for refusing Kasparov's revenge pretentions.
Kasparov was strongly agains Champion's right for a revenge for at least 17 years, since he became the challenger in 1983. He changed his mind just after the first defeat. It would be really strange from any point of view if Kramnik accepted Garry's pretentions. This would show his weakness, by the way, and gave Garry huge advantage in negotiations.

Everyone, including Kasparov and Kramnik, expressed regret about the absence of an organized cycle in 2000.

Following 2000, Kasparov might have:
--played in Dortmund,
--negotiated with Dortmund for a different format,
--beat the bushes promoting enthusiasm and sponsorship for the Kasim match,
--played Kasim for a modest prize fund.

He chose none of these options.

Defeating Kasim, Kasparov could have challenged Kramnik to either play him or lapse into irrelevance. He didn't do that, either.

On Kramnik's side, he:
--provided a reasonable opportunity to challengers
--never refused to play a Kasim-Kasparov winner
--caved in to FIDE when there was no longer any alternative.

Each man stood to lose a lot more than he stood to win in a "rematch". A Kramnik loss would have left him on the outside with no visible prospects of getting another title shot. A second for Kasparov would have put a huge dent in his legacy.

But Kramnik would surely have played a "rematch" on his terms; Kasparov on his. Neither man's position was totally unreasonable and no reasonable person would accuse either man of cowardice for refusing to cave into the other man's position.

It's our loss that a "rematch" never came off.

a second loss

So cming back to an important question: Is KLramnik legally obliged to play in this WCC tournament in 2007? Or can he dropp out and say, guys, leave me alone, I will stick to the classical format?

Any links, evidence etc?

that kramnik never refused to play the winner of the kasparov-kasim match is simply untrue. he hinted more than once that he wouldn't play coz kasparov should have played against pono not kasim. after the kasparov-kasim match failed to realise he started to repeat how he was ready to play. that kramnik "expressed regret" that there was no cycle in 2000 means nothing as he played. the situation is pretty simple kasparov gave kramnik opourtunity to play without the cycle while kramnik didnt do the same for kasparov because he chicked out. all those talk about the cycle is a smikescreen. if he had moral reservations against playing a WC match without a cycle he could have refused the match in 2000.

Kramnik did not refuse to play. He said he wasn't (legally or morally) obligated to play the Kasim-Kasparov winner. See the difference? No?

For the sake of argument, let's say that it was evil and dastardly for Kasparov to handpick Kramnik for the 2000 match, and that it was evil and dastardly for Kramnik to accept.

Would it then better for Kramnik, as champion, to repeat the evil and dastardly act (handpicking), or would it be better for Kramnik to institute a less evil and dastardly method for bringing forth a challenger?


I note with glee that the players are given a rest day to recuperate from the opening ceremony.

I think that Kramnik is just the kind of classicist who can put a damper on Topalov's outre play.

From a chess point of view, I'm looking forward to it very much. Its just not any kind of unification.

I’ve given up arguing about all this rematch nonsense. The only reason there wasn’t a rematch is that Kasparov-Ponomariov and then Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov never happened. I don’t know why not, but I’ve never heard anyone say it was Kramnik’s fault.

Surely Karpov won at least three world title matches, (two against Korchnoi, arguably another against Korchnoi in 1974, as it turned out, and one each against Timman and Anand - debatable, obviously) and drew at least one more (with Kasparov in the one Gazza won the last game in to retain his title? Steinitz of course lost to Lasker.

Wonder if Kramnik’s signed to play Radjabov if he wins?! And whether the projected candidates matches will happen (a) if Kramnik wins and (b) if Topalov does?

Obviously anyone with the future of chess at heart has to be rooting for Kramnik, but I’m not sure even the depressing outcome of a Topalov victory wouldn’t be better than Steinitz’s title being decided in a blitz game following a tie.

"Kramnik-Topalov is not a legitimate World Championship match - for the simple reason that Kramnik has not been a legitimate Champion since 2002 (in the Fischer-Karpov-Kasparov-Kramnik line)."

You've told us what you're against, without telling us what you're for. If neither Kramnik nor Topalov is legtitimate, then who should be playing?

If the answer is, "I want a proper cycle," then you should get over it. We aren't getting one anytime soon. Either you recognize one of these guys, or you stand on the sidelines for the rest of your life recognizing nobody.

"It is amazing that so much of the chess world seems to be fooled by Kramnik's charade."

If indeed it's a charade, it won't be one for long. Either he'll defeat Topalov, or he won't. If he does defeat Topalov, I think it will be pretty hard to deny that he's for real. The interesting argument will be his place in history should he lose.

"Topalov's ethics, too, leave a lot to be desired. Knowing that he is not good enough to hold the title for long, he has decided to exploit it to the financial max, and hang the damage to chess. Thus, following the money, he professes to support the nightmare Ilyumzhinov; and accepts an illegitimate and highly damaging to chess title challenge from Radjabov."

I see nothing wrong with Topalov getting paid for his talents. Good for him! The opportunity presented itself, and he seized it fair and square. If a professional competitor wants to get paid, he needs to play by the rules of the organizing body of his sport. This is no defense of the FIDE system, but it is what it is. For the amount of money Kirsan was able to put on the table, you can't expect great players to sit on the sidelines. Chess is what they do for a living.

"Obviously anyone with the future of chess at heart has to be rooting for Kramnik, but I’m not sure even the depressing outcome of a Topalov victory wouldn’t be better than Steinitz’s title being decided in a blitz game following a tie."

Anyone with the future of chess at heart has to be rooting for an exciting, hard-fought match that catches the public eye. Regardless of the victor, a dull match (e.g., Kramnik-Leko 2004) would be another nail in the coffin for long one-on-one matches.

Kirsan's reign has an Alice-in-Wonderland feel to it. The rules are what he says they are. He has changed them more than once, and surely will again.

I like the word "entourage."

We called our club basketball team "Bozo's Youth Entourage." We hoped that it'd be abbreviated to "BYE" on the schedule, that our opponents wouldn't show up, and that we'd win by default.

I don’t know what you people want. Kramnik-Leko featured at least two magnificent games (Leko’s Marshall win and Kramnik’s superb effort in the decider), the first Modern Benoni in a world championship since Fischer (not a sharp enough opening for you?) a cliff-hanging finish which I for one was absolutely glued to on the internet and a human interest story like few others (Leko suffering the same heartbreak as Schlechter and Bronstein). It knocked Kasparov-Short/Anand, or Karpov-Korchnoi in Merano, or going further back Alekhine-Bogo or Lasker-Janowski, into a cocked hat.

We were very spoiled having Karpov and Kasparov, two titans of the game, near the peak of their powers for so long together. And even then – you ever played through the games of their first match? Or Botvinnik-Petrosian, come to that. Top-level match chess ain’t about the Evans Gambit.

Tell that to Gary!! Who has played exactly that opening in a WC match...

The Evans? You sure - I think not.

He played the Evans against Anand for sure. I remember being amazed. and he won that.

Hmm.. my apologies, I think it wasnt a WC maybe, because chessgames.com lists an Evans gambit with Gary winning against Anand as played at the Tal memorial in Riga. Perhaps it was against Short?

Indeed, he played it against Anand in the Tal event (not a hugely serious one) and I think maybe once more, if that? But not a WC match.

He did play some ludicrous countergambit - 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Bc4 Qh4+ 4 Kf1 b5??!, maybe? - against Short in an exhibition match organised to fill the gap where the last four or five games should have been. The opening had been imposed on the players. GK lost quickly and was not at all amused.

Greg (and Vlad): Kasparov was not making any noises about an unqualified for rematch [and did not change his mind 'just after the first defeat'] until AFTER seeing the absurd and unacceptable format that Kramnik insisted upon for the Dortmund qualifier. I well remember Seirawan reporting on Kasparov's anger at seeing this format, and it is quite clear from Seirawan's report that Kasparov was prepared to play in a properly constructed qualification process. If you can find any Kasparov claims demanding an unqualified for rematch BEFORE the Dortmund announcement, I will listen; if you cannot, your arguments do not hold water. I very much doubt that you will be able to; there almost certainly are none.
Greg, you say that Kramnik 'provided a reasonable opportunity to challengers'. With the Dortmund format, he did not - this is the whole point! If this format was not designed to be unacceptable to Kasparov, then why did Kramnik adopt this format? Kramnik is not an unintelligent man, so it could not have been arrived at by accident. If funds were limited, then it was nevertheless Kramnik's responsibility to ensure that the luck factor was reduced to a minimum. Instead he made a mickey mouse format to maximise the luck factor to produce a random winner, like the FIDE Championships that he had previously condemned. So, if this was not directed against Kasparov, you need to explain what WAS Kramnik's motivation in adopting this ridiculous format. Kasparov did protest it, but Kramnik made it pretty clear that it was non-negotiable.
Kramnik refused to play the winner of Kasparov-Kasim on the pathetic legalistic excuse that the Prague agreement stipulated that he was to play the winner of a Kasparov-Ponomariov match, not the winner of a Kasparov-Kasim match!! (plus FIDE not having kept to some of the relatively minor things that they had promised). Although in a strict legal sense Kramnik could justify breaking the agreement, there was a matter of degree, and Kramnik went back on the agreement in every other way possible - moral, what was percieved to be the intent, the spirit of it, etc. He had no real justification for breaking this agreement. I do not now believe that Kramnik was sincere when he signed this agreement, he was just waiting for an excuse to break it.
I agree that Kasparov should have played Kasim anyway and then challenged Kramnik to front up - he made a big mistake in not doing this - but I can understand why he didn't want to 'waste his time'
gilles: You are absolutely right. Kramnik was as scared.of playing Kasparov as Alekhine was of playing Capablanca, and unlike Alekhine couldn't even produce any decent tournament victories either. He must have been absolutely delighted when Kasparov retired.
rdh: Pono was afraid of getting thumped by Kasparov, so chickened out. FIDE did not help either. Fault two-thirds Pono, one third FIDE; no, can't blame Kramnik for that one except that he had already set the precedent. Kramnik saying he wouldn't play winner of Kasparov-Kasim was main reason this second match didn't take place - Kasparov concluded that he would never get a rematch with Kramnik. So, yes, this one mainly Kramnik's fault - there, now you have heard someone say it was Kramnik's fault.
I haven't heard of Kramnik being signed to play Radjabov if he wins. It would seem unlikely, as unlike Topalov, Kramnik prefers the Title to money.
Marc: Yes, what I am for is "I want a proper cycle". Yes, it won't happen soon, and no I'm not going to throw myself out of a window because this is the case. But just because it ain't happening soon is no reason to accept the current situation as right. A "proper cycle" would have the World Champion and Kramnik [and Kasparov] in at the quarterfinal stage of matches. This was Seirawan's unjustly forgotten proposal in 2002 (which Kasparov had accepted), but which was perverted into the Prague agreement, due mainly to Kramnik's instransigence [who then didn't even honour this agreement!].
I currently recognise Topalov as World Champion even though a tournament [one that Kramnik refused to play in, of course] is hardly the ideal way of determining that. I suppose the winner of Topalov-Kramnik will have to be recognised as World Champion if only on a de facto necessity basis to enable things to move on. I do not deny that on chess strength Kramnik is now (having been largely responsible for Kasparov's retirement), along with Anand, one of the two best challengers to Topalov. Yes, Kramnik's for real against the lesser Topalov, but he wasn't for a rematch against Kasparov. Also, isn't it amazing that for the second time Kramnik gets to challenge for the title without having won any qualification matches or tournaments. How does he do it!? It is noticeable that yet again we are having one of these matches without Vishy Anand being a participant. He is the biggest loser in all this. He has lost the best years of his life and is now beginning to fade. He has paid a huge price for his naive support of FIDE in the late 1990's to 2002, followed by their backstabbing of him in the 2002 Prague agreement.
It will also be interesting to see what Kramnik says down the line if he wins. Possible Kramnikspeak might be that he was the unbroken champion from 2000, that San Luiz was merely a qualification event and that Topalov was merely a challenger. If Kramnik loses, his place in history should be World Champion 2000-2002; and there is an interregnum 2002-5.
I am not criticising Topalov for playing the Kramnik match, this is fair enough [The match itself is a good thing; the way it has come about is not]. However the Radjabov match is quite another story, and a man of principle would not accept this one. I understand that, of course, Topalov could not afford to offend Ilyumzhinov, but he could have made neutral statements. Instead before the FIDE election, he was actively supporting Ilyumzhinov, ie sucking up to him. There needs to be a united front of top GMs against Ilyumzhinov, but Topalov has broken this. Once again, Ilyumzhinov has been able to use his money and position to divide and rule.
niceforkinmove: Kasparov used to support the match rather than tournament concept for the World Championship, and I believe that in his heart he still does. However, he can sometimes be inconsistent when there is a bigger issue (to him) at stake, and here the overriding thing is his very justified anger at Kramnik for his extraordinary backstab (Kasparov helps and promotes Kramnik extensively, gets him into the 1992 Olympiad team at 16, has him as his second in the 1995 Anand match, gives him a free shot at the title (and with no rematch provision, trusting Kramnik), etc, etc, and Kramnik pays him back with the Dortmund monstrosity). Kasparov is thus supporting anyone who is in opposition to Kramnik, in this case Topalov; in 2002 he even temporarily reconciled with his to then arch-enemy Ilyumzhinov.
d: Good to see that the majority haven't been taken in by Kramnik's propaganda - thanks. For Topalov comments, see above.
rdh & marc: Any sort of playoff is better than the unfair provision of a champion retaining his title in the event of a tied match [or the spin of a roulette wheel]. But I agree that the playoff is unsatisfactory. In the event of a tie, there should be at least two more regular games (as in the old candidates matches), and the blitz should be at least 10 games, not one!!
What is the desirable outcome for the match? On enterprise of play, one has to prefer Topalov, though he is somewhat unsound (it's amazing how badly Topalov's opponents often seem to defend against him - surely a well Kramnik will defend better?). Kramnik's play is generally sterile, though when he is aroused out of his laziness by desperation, he can show what he is capable of, eg the last two games of the Leko match, which were impressive. However, Ilyumzhinov [Alice-in-Wonderland, good one Marc] (and ex jailbird Campomanes before him, who is still there) has been an absolute disaster for chess, much worse even than Kramnik. Topalov has sold out to Ilyumzhinov, while Kramnik has opposed him. Also, a Kramnik victory provides the only chance (albeit small) of retaining a match format for the World Championship. Therefore, despite Kramnik's past perfidy, I must very reluctantly support a Kramnik victory.
Who will win? Really hard to say, the extent of Kramnik's recovery from his illness being such a variable. Mig thinks Topalov is to be favoured because of his finishing powers. But an unwell Kramnik's finishing powers against Leko show he's no slug in that department either. If push comes to shove, I will venture that Kramnik's negative play will frustrate Topalov as it did Kasparov, so a one point victory to Kramnik (maybe +2 -1 =9). Next most likely a tie, with Topalov winning playoff.

I started to read about the first 3 paragraphs or so and stopped. However you should know a couple of things:

Both Kasparov and Kramnik agreed before thier 2000 match that they would not have a rematch. (this I believe was at Kasaprovs insistance) They both agreed that whoever lost would be *required* to play in a dortmund style qualifier. (Admittedly I have never found a copy of the contract so I don't know how detailed it was) I'm not giving any citations for the above but this is my understanding after reading allot about htese events. If anyone has any contrary or more indepth info please let me know.

Kasparov refused to play in this qulaifier. Through his authorized agent he publicly stated the reasons why he refused to play in Dortmund. You should read this if you haven't already.

There is no need to rely on second hand info through Seirawan or anyone else. Basically the public statment was that he won so many strong tournaments (albeit not WC qulifiers) since 2000 he should get a direct rematch. Moreover, he said they (Braingames) blew a deadline so he wasn't bound by the agreement he signed before the Kramnik match. And of course there were unsatisfactory financial conditions. (sound familiar?)

But as far as format there is no specific complaint or change recomended. Indeed it seems the only acceptable format was to be offered a direct rematch or no deal! see this quote:

"In light of the foregoing for BGN and Kramnik not to voluntarily offer Kasparov a rematch is reprehensible and makes a mockery of a true World Championship, whose aim, after all is to find the World Champion."

Nevertheless Raymond Keene has said (on chessgames.com) that he actually tried to vary the format so Kasparov would play in the Dortmund qualifier. He offered a longer semifinal match. Kramnik also agreed to this change in hopes Gary would play under his contractual obligation. See this link from chessbase although the full article no longer seems to be attached:

These are the facts. We can try to reinvent history and hope people forget what was said 5 years ago all we want but these are the facts. This is what happened and threasons people gave. As a great man once said everyone is entitled to thier own opinions but no one is entitled to thier own facts.

Chris B.

Kasparov's position, after 2000, was that he was so obviously the best challenger for Kramnik that it would be absurd to require him to participate in a qualifier.

Well, let's see.

Kasparov was beaten by Kramnik.
Kramnik and Anand had similar ratings.
Is it so absurd to believe that Anand or another player might have been able to beat Kasparov, too?

Kasparov faced tough odds if he agreed to play a qualifier.

If you gave him a 70% chance of winning a qualifier and then a (generous) 70% chance against Kramnik, that still adds up to only a 49% chance of getting his title back.

Chris B, right on. I agree with everything you said, except your lukewarm wish for a Kram victory on the basis that it would be the lesser of the 2 evils. Well I find it hard to believe that somebody whose only demonstrated agenda up to now has been himself would be preferable to somebody who actively promotes Chess. Besides, its more about the Chess now isnt it? I confess I have a small nagging doubt about Topalov's staying power at the top. Yes, I believe he's better than the previous short-lived champions Khalifman, Pono and Kasim, but this is a fairly acid test. I find the prospect mouthwatering. Yes, Kramnik more or less had both matches fall into his lap, while others such as Shirov and Anand got systematically screwed along the way. However now that its upon us, I am looking forward to it eagerly. I guess what I'm saying is, if Kramnik wins or Topalov wins, it would be only about the Chess to me. The WC is screwed anyway.

Rather than hand-picking their challengers, Kasparov and Kramnik both used Candidates events.

--Unfortunately, Kasparov's events produced Shirov.
--Unfortunately, Kramnik's event was bypassed by Kasparov and Anand; and it produced Leko.

For both Kasparov-Shirov and Kramnik-Leko there was no sponsorship interest. Kasparov quickly abandoned the effort and handpicked his challenger. Kramnik persisted, ultimately found a sponsor, and played the man whom he'd promised to play.

Sure, we'd rather see Kasparov-Kramnik than Kasparov-Shirov. And we'd have rather seen Kramnik-Kasparov than Kramnik-Leko. But Kasparov and Kramnik both deserve praise for setting up their respective Candidates events.

And it's hard to blame Kramnik for following through on his.

niceforkinmove: Thank you for the referral to the Owen Williams [Kasparov's authorised agent] document. (I premume this would be the one Greg is alluding to in his 17 Sept 9:22 posting, too) I do now remember reading it at the time. This document was written 2 months after the Dortmund format was announced [which was on 15 July 2001], so it is not surprising that Kasparov's tune had changed. The contract you mention required Braingames to offer Kasparov conditions by November 2000. As they did not do so, Kasparov was no longer legally bound by any contractual obligation.
The format of Dortmund was almost certainly indirectly referred to in the comment "As we analyse the BGN offer, it is transparently calculated to obtain a quasi-legitimate challenger for Kramnik...Let's be blunt: no effort is being made to find the top challenger and this will haunt Kramnik as he searches for future respect. Compare Kramnik's not-so-subtle avoidence of the top challenger..."
Keene and Kramnik changed the semi-final matches from 2 games to 4 games and this was all. Well, whoopdedo. As if this fundamentally changed the idiocy. This was still no better than the FIDE lottery. They would not budge otherwise.
I found the Seirawan thing I was thinking of. It is called 'From a Fresh Start to a New Dawn', in three parts. [Put that + 'Seirawan' into Google; also it is in Chesscafe archives.] In part 1, Seirawan says "Just as with FIDE's format, the Dortmund system of short matches was fundamentally flawed. Kasparov was incensed and reacted angrily. He would certainly not play in Dortmund...I too was shocked by the Dortmund format. I could not understand how Keene, with his great experience and intimate knowledge of world championship cycles, could have proposed such a silly format." And in 'A Fresh Start' [Put this + 'Seirawan' into Google], Seirawan says "FIDE's knockout tournament has unfortunately shown itself to be what its critics have suggested, ie a lottery, whereas the Dortmund organizers have announced that they would be using the same FIDE format of accelerated matches to pick a challenger. Why a bad idea for determining the world champion should be duplicated by a rival set-up is beyond my understanding." I, too, was astonished when I saw the format. Until then, I had thought that Kramnik was an ok guy, and I had even been mildly pleased that he had taken the Championship from Kasparov.
Kramnik could have consulted with Kasparov and Anand as to what would have been a suitable qualifier. But he just ignored them. Why?
A satisfactory qualification system could have been something like: Semi-final matches plus a final, all of 12-14 games. Kasparov and Anand (who were streets ahead of anyone else at the time) to be seeded into the semis in opposite halves of the draw; the other two places to be decided from a qualification tournament. Good sponsorship would probably have been found for such prestigious events (but if it turned out to be not so flash, then this is the price the players would have to pay to have their WC chance). If Kasparov had been offered this scenario and refused, then he would indeed have been at fault.
Other things of interest to note are (1) that Kramnik himself had participated in one of the FIDE 'Championships' and got nowhere, so he knew how chancy these things were; and (2) Sonas did an analysis ['Championship Chessmetrics Analysis' - put this into Google] of 13,000 World Championship systems, with the FIDE system coming near bottom at 12,671; Dortmund not that much better at 10,945, while Seirawan's 'A Fresh Start' came in at 345. 'A Fresh Start' is the 2002 Seirawan pre-Prague proposal that I mentioned last time. Indeed, get rid of the cranky draw odds and women bits and add a couple of improvements and it's a damn good proposal (far better than any that FIDE has come up with since) and should be adopted.
I think anyone who is really interested in the truth of this whole business would be well advised to download/print the items I've mentioned before they disappear off the Net, especially 'From a Fresh Start to a New Dawn', Part 1.
Greg: Ratings don't count for everything; there is a theorem in chess which says that A beats B, B beats C, C beats A. Up to 2000, (though not after), Kramnik, and only him, just seemed to have Kasparov's number. No one else was considered to have a cat-in-hell's chance of beating Kasparov at that time.
I am not quite sure of your point in estimating Kasparov's chance of getting his title back. Far more relevant would be to estimate his chances of qualifying for a rematch under different systems. Under my 2-match system suggested above, I would estimate his chances at about 85-90%. Under Dortmund, about 60%. See the difference?
The bottom line with Shirov is that he was offered a match, but turned it down, overestimating his market value. Well, that was his decision and his lookout. If Kasparov was trying to duck the only guy who had a chance of beating him, I'm sure a Shirov match could have been arranged anyway - but Shirov was given his chance. Kramnik, on the other hand, very much ducking the guy most likely to beat him, got Leko (he had to play somebody, and don't forget, Kasparov played somebody, too, and what a somebody). Even then, he insisted on unfair draw-odds in the match, which he very much needed.
I am wondering, is it possible to pin you down to (1) your explanation of Kramnik's reason for adopting the Dortmund format; (2) proving (or otherwise) any serious intent by Kasparov to avoid a qualifier BEFORE 15 July 2001.
d: Some good points there. I must say the prospect of the person Kramnik being Champion again is rather repugnent. I'm a bit torn both ways. But you've changed my mind a bit, so I'll say now that I'm neutral.
Yes, Topalov is better than Khalifman, Pono, Kasim. I don't consider those guys as World Champions in the real meaning of the term. A better definition of them would be something like FIDE Cup winners.
Can't say I can get very excited about this match. Not a patch on what a K-K rematch would have been.
Perhaps WC is not screwed if Kok can do something. If so, hope he adopts the Seirawan 2002 proposal, wouldn't that be something?

Subject matter; Elista, WCC.
Message; Hei! Fabulous! (1st game)

The third one wins.
The year of three popes.

There was a time during the Middle Ages when
there were three popes. The first one was deposed as an antipope and the new one elected promptly deposed and excommunicated the first who likewise deposed and excommunicated the second one. As they couldnt get their act together the Council deposed both and elected a new third pope as the legitimate one. So now there were three popes instead of one. Ultimately the first two resigned and were deposed and the third one finally was accepted by one and all as the true pope.

Kramnik and Topalov should be forewarned. If they keep up their antics they will both be removed as world champions and a new third one will be selected if need be by lot or simply by Élő points or games won lost in the last decade or since the last legitimate common world champion before the split.
Whoever won the most games and lost the fewest is world champion by default.
This nonsense has to stop.
Rapid and blitz games excluded. They may have their own world champion just as there are separate correspondance etc champs.

Alexander Jablanczy

chris B

Kasparov did not propose any quarter final and semifinal matches. He criticized the dortmund format but offered nothing other than a direct rematch as an alternative. Do you agree with this fact? I am just reading his agents press release.

I do *believe* I read soemthing about thier contract (kk 2000) saying a Dortmund style tournament would be the qualifier. If this is correct Yasser should not have been surprised when Kramnik simply complied with the contract.

For some people its not just about what you can legally get away with but promises yield moral obligations as well. This is why I don't fault Anand for not playing in Dortmund, even if he could have escaped the FIDE contract.

I have never been able to get a copy of the Kramnik Kasparov match contract. I would love to however.

I do agree that the dortmund format leaves much to be desired. In fact I think it stinks. However if kramnik agreed to have it then I think he did right by having it despite the technical deadline lapse due to the company being bought out.

Kramnik then made it abotu as easy as he could - short of a direct rematch. He said just beat Pnomariov and I will have to beat the Dortmund winner. Then if we both survive we can have the rematch. I don't think you will ever see any other champion agreeing basically to place himself in a semifinal for the good of chess. Yet Kramnik did at prague. He also followed through with all his promises.


Thanks for reply; apologies for having missed it for a while.
I don't have a copy of the Kasparov-Kramnik match contract either [has Mig got one?]. But I do know that Kasparov especially left out any clause requiring a rematch. This was because having suffered having to play such a rematch against Karpov in 1986, he thought such a clause unfair. Clearly he trusted Kramnik to come up with a reasonable way for him to qualify to become his challenger if he lost.
Jeff Sonas (in Kramnik-Topalov g4 thread) says that the Dortmund format was envisioned by Braingames even before the end of the Kasparov- Kramnik match. [An implication of this comment would be then that there was nothing in the contract about it.] If so, I'm sure that Kasparov (or Seirawan) knew nothing about it. Relevant in this context could be the 11 September 2001 TWIC interview of Keene [ http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/even2001.html ]. Keene says that in a discussion with Kasparov and Owen Williams after the K-K match, he had proposed an 8 player double round robin as his preferred option. Kasparov rejected this because "opponents could gang up on him and cheat thus eliminating him". Which is fair enough (eg Curacao 1962).
Keene then doesn't mention anything about any other formats (including Dortmund) being discussed at any time subsequently, so one must presume that there was no further communication about formats until the 15 July 2001 bombshell. I am sure that Kramnik would have had the influence with Braingames to produce a decent format if he was genuine about having his most worthy challenger found.

Yes, I do agree that in the press release Kasparov is in effect requesting a direct rematch. But by this stage, this is quite fair enough. Kramnik and Braingames adamantly refused to make anything but a minor change to the Dortmund format, so what was Kasparov supposed to do? Kramnik and Braingames created the problem first. Kasparov was not making such requests before the Dortmund format announcement. It is most unfair and unreasonable of people like Greg to take this statement out of context and claim that Kasparov never intended to play in any qualifier from the word go.

What happened next? Seirawan, seeing that without the participation of Kasparov and Anand at Dortmund the whole thing was meaningless, came up with [in March 2002] his 'A Fresh Start' proposal.
This was a quarterfinal/semifinal/final match proposal with the winner of the final to be undisputed World Champion. Kasparov (as top rated player), Kramnik (as Classical Champion), Ponomariov (as FIDE Champion), and the winner of Dortmund were to be seeded into the quarterfinals. I think it was quite fair enough to require Kramnik to play in the quarterfinals as he had lost all moral authority by refusing to budge on Dortmund.
To my mind, this was an excellent proposal and Seirawan tried very hard to get it implemented.
Seirawan says [in 'From a Fresh Start to a new Dawn'] that "Garry took the first step, and it was a courageous one. He made a public statement on his website that supported "A Fresh Start", inviting discussions for achieving chess unity. I felt very proud of him." Kasparov even agreed to accept having match draw odds against him in the semi-final if he faced a "World Champion" (Classical or FIDE) there. And people say that Kasparov was unreasonable and refused everything but a one-to-one rematch!
Now what about Kramnik? He adamantly refused to agree to this proposal, using the technical excuse that he couldn't break some contract or other with Braingames. I'm sure that he could have arranged something about this contract if he had wanted to.
In "New Dawn", it is clear time and again what a stumbling block to implementing "A Fresh Start" that Kramnik's Dortmund tournament was.
So thanks to Kramnik, "A Fresh Start" was scuppered and perverted into the Prague Agreement instead, which criminally left out Anand and Ivanchuk; but this was the best that could now be done.

And then, after all this trouble, Kramnik, by announcing in 2004 that he would not play the winner of a Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match, broke this Prague agreement. What a wanker!!

I just cannot understand how anybody knowing the full story could still support Kramnik. His behaviour 2001-2004 just stinks. (And people like rdh accuse me of being 'beyond reason' on this issue!)
In my view, Kramnik has no moral right to be called World Champion after 2002 and should not be recognised as such.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on September 14, 2006 7:39 PM.

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