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He Said, He Said, Etc.

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The comments here are full of mostly Russian news interviews with Ilyumzhinov, Kramnik, Topalov, and Danailov. There is an apparent redundancy in this list because in one of the interviews Danailov insists that he and Topalov are the same person. Time to go out and rent All of Me. "Back in bowl? Back in bowl!" Topalov doesn't need a a new manager, he needs an exorcist. Thanks to Yuriy Kleyner, Russianbear, and Vlad Kosulin for their translation esprit de corps. Note that while the veselingtopalov.net site has been speedy and useful in getting info from the Topalov team and also in putting up interview translations, our own wholesome band of translators have pointed out various errors of both omission and invention in their translations, errors that always seem to come out as negative toward Kramnik and/or in favor of Topalov. So thanks to them for their efforts, but caveat lector.

My winners for funniest, most predictable, most tragic, and other selected money quotes follow.

"Alexander Roshal expressed an idea of letting Topalov into the match-tournament, the winner which would get the title shot for your championship. What do you think of this idea?"

Kramnik: "Topalov's manager, Silvio Danailov didn't behave himself in the best manner during the match, but Topalov, as a chess player, undoubtedly deserves to be allowed to participate in this tournament. Roshal's idea is quite good. I must add that I believe that the old formula, with some corrections, was the most successful one compared with all current ones. And chess keeps its high status precisely because of the world championship matches. Ask any person on the street what they know about chess. They will answer: Karpov-Kasparov, Fischer-Spassky...and so on...And I am firmly in favor of this position.

Zhukov: "To abandon the idea of a final match is simply criminal. If they will create a new champion every year they will not remember who the best one is."

Kramnik: "We begin with a fresh page. What we write on it will determine the future of chess. But for now I will not go into detail. I am sure we will find a common language."

[After spending most of the interview talking about the number of toilet visits on the videotape.] Sport Report: There is another paragraph in your open letter that is quite remarkable. It says that in case the match continues, Topalov will "refrain from shaking hands with Mr. Kramnik before the games and would not take part in joint press conferences with him". Did you write it on behalf of Topalov or on your own behalf?
Danailov: What difference does it make?
-It is important.
Danailov: We are one and the same person . That's all.
-Yeah, but you are two different people.
Danailov: We are one team.
-One team, but two people.
Danailov: I am not going to repeat...
-But I want to clarify...
Danailov: And I won't clarify! Topalov and Danailov are one and the same person. Ask the next question.

Sport Express: Are you very distressed by the title loss?
Topalov: I have to repeat, the title itself is nothing for me. If I continue to win tournaments and be No.1 in on the rating list, it is of no importance at all that the title belongs to Kramnik. If continues to make his usual +2 and take No.3 in rating, everybody will see what a champion he is.
-So, you are not upset by passing the title to a good person?
Topalov: Now Kramnik has to prove he can live up to the title. I hope he will play next year.
- Where?
Topalov: He is under contractual obligation to play in Mexico
- What if he rejects it?
Topalov: That is his problem. And FIDE.

Lordy. It's alarming that many, including Kramnik, think it would be a good idea to make this the first item on the agenda after this fresh start: "(1) Screw over a scheduled and lucrative event and its sponsor." Sorry guys, I love matches but if we're actually going to build a pro sport here we can't shaft Mexico just for fun. It's exactly the sort of thing that scares sponsors away from chess. They've already been shivved by FIDE having this unification match (and threatening to have another with Radjabov). Consistency and transparency are prerequisites; we cannot fudge on these essentials to spat about format. If Kramnik didn't want to play there he shouldn't have played in Elista. After 13 years of schism and chaos, having a well-funded championship tournament is hardly the end of the world. It's not as if Brissago was utopian. Let's get our legs under us, prove to sponsors we have our heads on straight and have some order, and then let's see if we can sell a big match with a big democratic cycle. Between Kramnik's statements and FIDE's history of fouling things up, this is a huge challenge. (We've been discussing this to death in recent threads. Check them out before serving up the reheated rehash here.)

Predictable but sad to see Topalov's remarks about the title vs rating. If you win tournaments, matches don't matter, if you win matches, tournaments don't matter. If you have a title, rating doesn't matter. If you have rating, titles don't matter. If you win matches, tournaments, and have rating and title, you're Kasparov. Topalov had 3/4 for a year. It would have been nice to hear him say how much the title meant to him and how badly he wants to get it back in a fair fight. It would also be nice to have world peace and a hot fudge sundae. It's preposterous Topalov won't be playing in Mexico. I'd say enlarge the field but that punishes the other players. Even if Kramnik plays we have the annoying situation of the #1 not participating. Worst case is ending up with two shadow champions. Regarding Topalov's comment that Kramnik is contractually obligated to play in Mexico, isn't it possible their contracts aren't exactly the same?

Elsewhere, people are saying Ilyumzhinov used the phrase "candidates tournament" to describe the April event instead of matches. I'm not sure if he was being generic or if it's actually been decided to have a 16-player round robin instead of two sets of six-game matches that would take less time, be more exciting, and, bonus item, fulfill the friggin' regulations. (Apart from the six month delay...) As candidate Kamsky pointed out, they've already reduced the prizes to below what players who finished below the candidates made in Khanty Mansiysk.

Just about all of these are translated in full or in part in the comments link above. The Russian originals:
Kramnik in Sport Express
. Topalov in Sport Express. Danailov in Sport Report. Kramnik in 64.

Update including some salient comments from another veteran, Mark Crowther of TWIC, taken from the comments.

We have a number of players who have contracts to play for the world title in Mexico City or to play a challengers series to get there yet apparently it isn't cast iron that the champion has to be there. What kind of unification is this?

On the point of matches. It's proved impossible to get sponsors for candidates matches and this world title match. Sure matches might be the best system but I think we first have to think about a world championship taking place at all.

Let's just see what Kramnik's rivals say when they get locked out again for another x years whilst this is sorted out. Anand supported Kramnik but let's see what he says when his world title shot which he says he's looking forward to is cancelled or downgraded. Personally I think the people who should have a say are the top 20 and two or three other juniors who are clearly going to make it. They're the ones who are directly affected. If they say OK I'm fine with that.

Another San Luis style tournament (precedent 1948 by the way) would be OK by me, a match would be OK also. But just to cancel things from under the other players seems to me to be grossly unfair. They've been mucked about enough over the last decade or so.

The Ilyumzhinov interview makes it sound perfectly clear that Kramnik is obliged to play and that Topalov is out, period. He didn't waffle about either case at all, somewhat surprisingly.



"Danailov: And I won't clarify! Topalov and Kramnik is one and the same person. Ask the next question. " - Mig, I was the one who translated that, but I made a mistake - it was supposed to be:

"DANAILOV and Topalov are one and the same person."


NOT Kramnik, I meant.

As for the Mexico tournament - if I had to choose between screwing over one sponsor and screwing over Classical World championship, I would pick the former.

What is wrong with Roshal's suggestion of making Mexico tournament a candidates tournament where Topalov will play instead of Kramnik, with the winner playing Kramnik in a match? Everyone is happy. Organizers wanted Topalov, so they will get Topalov. Kramnik did not want to put the title on the line in the tournament, so he won't. FIDE wanted unification and it still will have it. And, last but not least, us chess fans who wanted match tradition to stay alive will get what we want.

Yah, sorry, copy-pasted and missed my own fix in the thread.


"Sorry guys, I love matches but if we're actually going to build a pro sport here we can't shaft Mexico just for fun."

Shafting Mexico is necessary if we're going to fix what FIDE and Kasparov broke. No fan wants a champion decided by tournament. We want the best player as champion, and that's only possible to define by eliminating the random results that tournaments often produce.

"It's exactly the sort of thing that scares sponsors away from chess."

Sponsors are scared away from chess for all the right reasons. Anyone who thinks that Mexico as a single event fixes that is in a dream world. The fans want a match champion, and as long as that merket exists, we'll have one. Until FIDE wakes up and provides for that in their championship cycle, chaos and uncertainty will be the norm.

"They've already been shivved by FIDE having this unification match (and threatening to have another with Radjabov). Consistency and transparency are prerequisites; we cannot fudge on these essentials to spat about format."

You can't have consistency unless you have a format. Right now we don't. FIDE's format is a joke and everyone knows it.

"If Kramnik didn't want to play there he shouldn't have played in Elista."

Why? Kramnik was the title holder of the only lineage that mattered. Why shouldn't he try to make peace with FIDE? But if FIDE isn't going to honor the lineage of his title he need not simple acquiess to the sullying of that title.

The ball is in FIDE's court. They can either fix the format so we can move forward or not.

"After 13 years of schism and chaos, having a well-funded championship tournament is hardly the end of the world."

At no point during those 13 years was there any question who the champion was. A double round-robin tournament might be a way to pick a challenger, but it's only the title match that decides the champion, and any student of the game knows that.

Because they have already bid and largely paid for a world championship. They have spent considerable money promoting it and reserving venues, etc. T-shirts have been printed, ad space reserved, staff hired. You don't suddenly scratch over "world championship" with "candidates tournament" and hope nobody notices. World championship puts butts in the seats and gets global coverage. Linares does not. Wikj aan Zee does not. San Luis did. Rule #1 is DON'T SCREW THE SPONSORS BY ACTING LIKE SCHIZO NUTBALLS. Or at least that should be rule number one.

If Mexico weren't already in motion, great, petition for a match all day all night. Heck, even do so now for the next cycle. (Lest we forget, this cycles was originally supposed to end with a match according to FIDE's own regulations.) My record on matches vs tournaments is quite clear. But you don't screw a signed and paid sponsor and then wonder why we can't find support for events and why events keep disappearing or switching to rapid, etc.

I just want to see us be able to build something instead of fighting for scraps of spoiled meat. 12 (11...) game matches in Elista? Matches in Brissago with a qualifier base of a dozen elite players instead of hundreds around the world? London with no qualifier at all, unless you count the one Shirov won and didn't get paid for and that wasn't honored? That's what has happened to the classical match tradition. It was so sick it was poisoning the rest of the patient - combined with FIDE's incompetence and the schism of course. We can't make the second step of a fresh start screwing a serious sponsor just because we want a match that doesn't even exist. Kramnik had one remote, underfunded, largely ignored match in six years with nothing even on the horizon for another crippled one, let alone a broad cycle. We have to deal with the reality that FIDE and Mexico City exist and that that step has already been taken. It's not the best thing but it's a good thing.

Shafting Mexico is necessary if we're going to fix what FIDE and Kasparov broke. No fan wants a champion decided by tournament.

Has anyone thought of asking them what they want? Say "Hey Mexico. Which would you rather have? A Championship Tournament in September with no Topalov, or a Candidates Tournament in September WITH Topalov, and a Championship Match later?"

If they pick the latter, no shafting is necessary.

David, who is "everyone" if there is massive sponsorship for San Luis and Mexico City? It's time to wake up and realize that the match tradition matters much more to some partisan diehards, including me, than to the rest of the world and the rest of the world pays the bills.

As for delusional, the statement that there was no confusion about who the champion was from 1993-2006 shows you are living in a very, very small bubble. For the past 13 years the chess world has shown it can't be trusted. Breakaways, corruption, dictators, contract violations, scandals, etc. These things matter. Sponsors have stayed away in droves. Continuing that tradition by screwing Mexico in order to have, maybe, eventually, another impoverished Kramnik match nobody cares about is not success. FIDE just had this match and has put match challenges into the regulations. It's hardly a longshot to believe long matches will return to the top if sponsorship can be found for them. But that won't happen if we keep shooting ourselves in the face. You don't dump a sponsor and event that has already been lined up, especially when you have no good alternative.

>"Danailov: And I won't clarify! Danailov and Topalov is one and the same person. Ask the next question. "

What a plainly irrational moron, I bet he is not married or if he is his children are planning to kill him.

>Sorry guys, I love matches but if we're actually going to build a pro sport here we can't shaft Mexico just for fun....

The problem is that we all love WCC matches.
Sponsors, spectators, and world champions.
What Kirsan-FIDE wants is unrealistic. If they dont change their attitude the next match will be
"Kramnik-Anand" and it will be sponsored by some patriotic Indian millionaire, with FIDE out of picture.

Well, if Mexico gets demoted to candidates tourney, too bad for the sponsors. But it is partly their own fault because they trusted Kirsan. Maybe if they actually researched Kirsan, they would not be making T-shirts this far in advance. Even if the sponsor will be disgusted and never sponsors any chess again, I am sure chess will survive a loss of one sponsor. I am not sure chess can survive a loss of classical title.

Perhaps handpicking or having an Elite qualifier like Dortmund 2002 is not democratic. But FIDE championships were democratic. And yet when the democratic FIDE title faced off against the undemocratic classical one in Elista, classical one prevailed. Perhaps we should get our priorities straight - do we want World championship to be a competition that is democratic or do we want it to be a competition that ensures that the best player in the world (or one of the really best if there is no single best) holds the title? FIDE KOs were democratic, and they game us the dynasty that included Kasimdzhanov, Ponomariov and Khalifman. Classical tradition may have had flaws, but it made sure that champion was deserving player, and most of the time, it was the best player, too.

Screwing over one sponsor (who should have known better anyway. It's not like Kramnik wasn't in the picture when they decided to sponsor the event) or screwing over some 150 years of match tradition (depends how you count it. La Bourdonnais, Morphy etc.?). It's ridiculous to even ask the question. The Mexico City World Championship is a no-starter (Qualification tournament ok why not?). Hopefully. It opens the door for FIDE to hi-jack the title for whatever Las Vegas Jackpot Championship. Kramnik needs to guard the traditional title and re-open the schism if he is forced to do so. Thought that should be obvious to anyone interested in defending the integrity of the title. It's not even worth a debate. Matches will always generate more interest than tournaments. One major problem with PCA/APC was that they didn't have full backing, they were not fully recognized and the title wasn't unified. Unification should fix that problem and not open the door to de-valuing the title. Hopefully Kramnik understands this and will firmly defend the integrity of the traditional line of World Champions, Kramnik himself being the 14th.

Would Kasparov had put his Title on line in 1999, in a World Championship Tournament? In order not to screw over sponsors or whatever? FIDE have done a fine enough job in that as it is. De-valuing the title would only complete the task, and would hardly attract more sponsorship money in the long run.

All right, here is an "ideal" solution:
We introduce the new title "Absolute Champion", obtained through matches only.
Topalov replaces Kramnik in Mexico city, which will be considered the next FIDE Championship tournament.
After that we get the match in Elista between the 'FIDE Champion' (it would be real fun to get Topalov first again), and the FIDE Absolute one (Kramnik at the moment) for the title "Absolute Chess Champion". Kirsan covers expenses and brings the prise fund. Both players are under obligation to play (mine-detectors and random noise generators, mounted into all seats, including the watercloset ones, are mandatory). If the FIDE Champion rejects to play, he loses the title to the FIDE vice-champion from Mexico, who will also replace him in the match with Kramnik. If the Absolute Champion rejects, the match to be played between 2 top players from Mexico (FIDE Champion, and Vice-Champion).
Something like Superfinal after the final ;-)
But Krsan shall guarantee (if his word is worth a penny) that none Rajabov will climb until FIDE Champion plays the current Absolute Champion!
Happy smile :-)

Yes, it is a valid question:

What would Garry do?

Besides, without Topalov, the #1 on the rating list, it will be a compromised tournament anyway. Why should we throw 120 years of chess history into the trash can for just one tourney that is supposed to be a WC, but won't even have the world's number 1 player? All of this because, I, an average fan, should give a damn if some rich Mexican dude doesn't sell as many T-shirts as he hoped? I don't think so. Matches, please.

My idea is similar to what we got in HNL. We have the Championship (who remembers these Champions?) which also serves as qualifier to the Stanley Cup.
In Russian chess, they also currently have the Championship superfinal after the final.

Why not declare the winner of Mexico City "The World Tournament Champion", and Kramnik "The World Match Champion", so that the sponsors of Mexico City can be happy, and Kramnik keep alive the glorious tradition that goes back to Steinitz.

Unlike many, I do not blame Kramnik for playing his superior hand. Just because he has the advantage doesn't mean he should roll over and not stand up for himself. If he doesn't want to play a classical match instead of a tournament, then he has the right to say so. If FIDE gives him everything he wants, who is to blame?

You're blaming the sponsors for trusting Kirsan for the screwing *you* want to give them! He hasn't said anything of the sort and I don't expect he will.

Actually Kramnik wasn't in the picture when Mexico City got involved. The unification match came as an unpleasant surprise.

I imagine Garry wouldn't have agreed to play in an Elista unification match under FIDE or signed a contract to play in Mexico City. That is, unless he planned to play in Mexico City.

If asking for matches made them happen that would be dandy. It doesn't. It hasn't. A cycle-free match every five years is not acceptable.

Topalov gambled his title and lost. It's stupid he won't be there, obviously, but it's not the end of the world. It's not as if the universe stops expanding in Mexico. So far the arguments are "I'd rather screw a sponsor and have no event at all than Mexico." Nihilism. "Mexico should suck it and be a candidates event and Happy McMagic should sponsor a championship match in Fantasyland" is also nihilism unless you have Happy's phone number and a good way to convince Mexico and the other players (the ones Kramnik is always defending) to be happy about the demotion.

There hasn't been money for matches for years and fragging a championship sponsor now isn't exactly going to make it rain money.

Okay greg, but what if it turns out, as it's logical to assume, that the Elista player contract says "the winner of the match is obligated to play in the 2007 world championship tournament in Mexico City" and has Kramnik's signature on it?

I think the damage done to the Mexico tournament was in staging the unification match in the first place as it opened the possibility of a Kramnik win and his certain refusal to put his title on the line in a tournament. As Mig has said further damage was done by opening up the challenge match possibility (USD 1 million + >2700 grading). Its nonsense - if Topolav had won against Kramnik then Radjabov had beaten Topalov then Anand won in Mexico you would get 3 different World Champs in 1 year. Gibberish. I guess if Kramnik signed a contract to defend his title in a Mexico tournament he is going to face legitimate criticism for refusing. But are Kramnik's commitments so clear cut? What did he actually sign up for? Does anyone know the small print. I ask this because Kramnik himself has stated he needs to go and look at it. I would be surpised if its really as simple as "I agree to play a match for the world title and the winner to defend that world title in a tournament in Mexico"

After Alkhechines death, has there not been a tournament to decide the WC? If that would be true, we would have a "Präzendenz-Fall". So not in every case, a match is needed to determine the WC.

Kramnik probably can use every change of the regulations to bail out of his obligations. Look at his argumentation with Kasparov rematch, he said: "Since Pono match did not happen as signed, I have no more obligations".

So if Topa is accepted in Mexico, or the candidate procedure changed, or the weather is not as fine as signed, he may bail out.

He is strong enough now to take the title with him, now where he has both titles, the classical and the Fide WC.

but my feelings tell me, that Mexico is dead in terms of determination of the classical champion, the #15. And that arguments of a famous chess journalist who may have personal interest can not change that

Mig, do we know if Kramnik HAS TO play in Mexico according to his contract? Kramnik seemed to not know that himself, as he answered the questions about his intentions by saying he would "(re)read the contract".

I am saying if Kisan demotes Mexico to a candidates tourney, it is Kirsan's fault that the sponsor is screwed. Kramnik did not agree to anything with Mexico organizers, as far as I know. Just because Kirsan promised a WC tournament to Mexico doesn't mean Kramnik has a moral obligation to participate. Even if Kramnik indeed signed up for the WC tournament, I think after the way FIDE treated him in Elista he has every right to renegotiate with Kirsan.

As for the money for matches, I think it wasn't that bad recently. They just played one, and they had multiple offers, I thought. Kramnik-Leko found a sponsor for their match, and I think Kramnik made more money there than Topalov did in San Luis. Now Danailov is talking as if he found a sponsor already. Azeri's were ready to sponsor Topalov-Radzhabov match, and I guess they haven't given up on Kramnik-Radzhabov. If anything, I would think that it would be easier to find sponsors for WC matches than WC tournaments.

The thing is, if we abandon matches now just for this one tournament, we will be screwed after this tournament is over - especially if it will be won by a relative underdog. It is a lot easier to find sponsors and generate interest while the title is still alive. Let's say someone like Naidich will win Mexico. Where do we go from there? Will we wait for Kirsan to go back to matches after - and what is guarantee of that? Or will we have to wait until 2 of the better players play a match a la Steinitz-Zukertort. I think chess only survived the reign of Khalifman,Pono,Kasimdzhanov because the classical line was still there. Had FIDE been the only game in town (whether it was KO or Linares-like tournaments), fans would lose interest quickly. I, for one, don't know if I would even follow chess if there weren't WC matches to look forward to.

If Kramnik has signed to play in Mexico 2007 and forfeits it then FIDE will to sue him, and Zukhov will phone Kirsan to remember him that Kalmykia is on soviet territory.

now seriously, it would be very strange to have Kramnik not knowing what he is signinig, not being aware of assuming such a major obligation.
It follows that he did not sign such thing otherwise he would have not declared what he declared at the Moscow press conference

Maybe Kirsan wanted such thing to be put in contract as a condition to be paid for the Elista match but Kramnik said "sure if I can, but.." and brought his unstable health as an uncertainty issue and escaped it.
He outfoxed Kirasn too not only Topa.

Why not declare the winner of Mexico City "The World Tournament Champion", and Kramnik "The World Match Champion", so that the sponsors of Mexico City can be happy, and Kramnik keep alive the glorious tradition that goes back to Steinitz.

That's pretty much the compromise I did for my own webpage, to avoid questions about who the real world champion was, since, the titles were different in nature anyway. The only hiccup was Karpov 1993-1998, which really was a rival match title.



If Kramnik plays in Mexico, I'll probably regard that the World Championship Title has been retired, and update the World Tournament Championship Page after that, as being the only title. If, say, Anand wins in Mexico, he certainly won't be the successor to Steinitz.

But things could change. It's still just possible that the Mexico organizers would prefer an Candidates Tournament and a match to just a Championship Tournament. If they want to get Topalov, that may be their only option. Otherwise, continue on with the Championship Tournament, Topalov-free, as planned.

>> As candidate Kamsky pointed out, they've already reduced the prizes to below what players who finished below the candidates made in Khanty Mansiysk.

To be clear on this, did Kamsky and the other candidates receive prize money at Khanty Mansiysk?

Why can't the winner of Mexico be World Tournament Champion, who will at some later time play a match against the World Matchplay Champion?
However, not having Topalov in a World Tournament Championship would be somewhat absurd, so Kramnik - not the world's greatest tournament player - could do the honourable thing and make way for Topalov in Mexico. Problem solved. (One can at least dream...)

Winning a "World Championship" tournament is no more meaningful than winning any other super-GM tournament. If the match based championship ends, well, then to me there is no real champion and a long tradition has sadly come to an end. At that point, I won't really care if there's money at the top of the chess world. To me, continued schism is preferable to the death of match championships.

I think the idea of playing word games to make the Mexican sponsors happy is a good one. It won't fool them, of course, they'll have to be willing participants. "Tournament World Champion" has to play "Classical World Champion" in 2008 (or whenever). Make it contractual. Heck, even call it just "World Champion" but specify that the winner must defend the title in a match against the previous title holder (who, not so coincidentally won it in a match). Make it a once cycle only "rematch" clause (though "rematch" is really the wrong term). For publicity purposes, don't go around mentioning the 2008 match (so Mexico gets to keep the hype for awhile). Of course, all wishful thinking that I have no expectation of coming true...

All that ignores one of the main points, the cycle. Selling the match to Azeri oil money is not my idea of good sponsorship if it means there's no cycle. Kramnik getting more than Topalov ignores the paychecks that went to Anand, Svidler, et al in San Luis. The players in Khanty-Mansiysk and the hundreds who battled for spots in that event aren't very impressed with matches like London and Brissago.

The problem is there AREN'T world championship matches to look forward to. They have popped up randomly, twice in ten years and now this brevity and aberration of an Elista match. Look forward implies scheduling, a cycle, sponsorship.

Kirsan didn't promise anything to anyone. There were bids for the 2007 WCh and Mexico City won, and paid cash money and signed contracts. This isn't a whim. And if Kramnik signed a player contract to play in Mexico City it's going to be comical watching people try to make him out to be a hero for violating it. Have we lost even the pretense of professional ethics? Yikes.

maybe Kramnik will play but the he will demand that Topalov and Kasparov to be invited too in the final tournament

Wouldn't this idea of mine which I've aired before do the trick in keeping Kramnik in?

1. Kramnik promises to play Mexico and put his title in.

2. Topalov is allowed in.

3. In return Kramnik is allowed a rematch for the title against the winner of Mexico (God forbid he doesn't win himself!). The rematch should have no draw odds but be played with "Elista-rules" (incl private bathroom...).

4. Everyone agrees that matches are lovely and that tournaments for the WC-title should never take place again!

If Kramnik plays in Mexico CIty 2007 what then? Yerevan 2009? Baku 2011? Shanghai 2013? Teheran 2015? It opens the door to abandon the traditional line of Match World Champions. No Thanks.

Indeed, if Kramnik has signed such a contract, he will indeed be a hero to many chess players if he then goes on and violates it. It's not like FIDE haven't violated many contracts. Doubt Gelfand is the only one who's pissed off.


You've often described FIDE's contract-writing shoddiness. The "contract" you're speculating about probably says, "If I win Elista 2006, I, Vlad, agree to play in Mexico 2007."

Lacking financial and other terms, would such a contract be enforceable? If not, Kramnik surely has no "good faith" obligation to go along with FIDE's WCC tournament plans after the outrageous treatment he received in Elista.

I am really starting to hate following top level chess. Mig seems to be the only one with a thimble full of common sense. Many of you on here are complete idiots. Sorry for the flame, but you make me sick. If Kramnik signed a contract saying the winner of Elista must play in the 2007 World Championship Tournament in Mexico City, and then starts spouting off this rubbish about..."I think Toppy the player ***deserves*** to play in the tournament for the right to play me in a match." -- then I say, Kramnik, you are a liar. Your word is nothing. Don't say one word about Danilov. It is perposterous to me that Kramnik could get a free shot at the title TWICE!!! (2000 and 2006) Then get "principles" about others needing to qualify.

Kramnik, "I believe that the old formula, with some corrections, was the most successful one..."

You make me want to vomit. If you have such firm convictions why not settle them in writing before playing in Elista?!?

If Kramnik did not sign contract committing to Mexico City 2007, then Kirsan is the biggest idiot on the planet!

Say no to any tournament for world championship. It is obvious that if any participant would see that he will not make it in the middle of the tournament then he more likely will play differently against a leader - thus winner will not be strongest player but the one against whom others played without necessary motivation! Only in match one will have the simple and only strategy – win more – loose less.

If Kramnik did sign an undertaking to play in Mexico City, he must play.
Strange if he did, but _pacta sunt servanda_ (a basic tenet of civil law: "pacts must be respected").
I would be hugely disappointed if after all the unpleasantness (to put it mildly) in Elista, Kramnik would tarnish his presently sterling reputation.

But then - let's get back to the match system, yes, please?


I don't think Azeri money is worse than Mexico money, and the number of cycles they both guarantee is about the same - 0.

Speaking of matches, there were human versus computer matches that had big prize funds. It is not like Kramnik is a poor relative who has to go back to FIDE for the money. It would be interesting to compare the money Kasparov and Kramnik raised to what Kirsan has raised. I think, Kramnik is actually bringing the money back to FIDE and not selling out because matches are no longer in demand.

Try to be a bit less emotional and bit more reasonable Todd.

There are countless things wrong with tournament world championship. Imagine Topalov and Cheparinov in the same tournament, in 2009 say. Two curious losses against Veselin and playing rock solid against his nearest competitors. And Danailov has that smug grin on his face. Then Radjabov challenges Topalov for a match in 2010, then another tournament in 2011... it's an idiotic system, one that will only devalue the title in long term, and Kramnik shouldn't validate it with his participation in Mexico City.

CML: Thank you for demonstrating some common sense.

AZ79: We're not talking about 2009, 2010, or 2011. We're talking about 2007 and contracts that have already been signed. I agree that we need an inclusive cycle, and I see some value in the final match. Hand it over to Kok.

But it is absolutely too soon to talk about a "fresh start" if Kramnik is going to ignore his word. For example, if Vishy wins MC 2007, why should he have to play Kramnik when he has already been told and signed a contract to play MC 2007 ***FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP***?!?

Start the new cycle and match AFTER everyone keeps their word and honors their contract, NOT BEFORE!

You mention the irregularity of WC matches as evidence for going with Mexico as the WC tournament. How do you know that these WC tournaments will be more regular and dependable? This is only tournament #2. Wow, that's so much history here to look at as evidence. Personally, I think that assuming tournaments are better than matches because you can get sponsorship more easily is pure fantasy (especially when Mr. Kirsan himself is in charge).

That means the only reason to make Mexico a WC tournament is to help the sponsors sell t-shirts. I say too bad, there are more important things at stake in the chess world.

>>However, not having Topalov in a World Tournament Championship would be somewhat absurd,

What's absurd about it? He got eliminated. It happens.

>>so Kramnik - not the world's greatest tournament player - could do the honourable thing and make way for Topalov in Mexico. Problem solved. (One can at least dream...)

LOL. He already gave him a free point, and you think he owes him more?

You can't stick to the rules when it suits you and toss them aside when it doesn't. If you want to stick to the rule that this tournament has to be a championship, then we also have to stick to the rule that Topalov is out. All the way out. Completely. Because he lost. The "honorable" thing would be for him to live with that, especially since he claims to not even care about the title, anyway. And let's face it, Topalov owes us an honorable gesture much more than Kramnik does.

OR, if that's not satisfactory, we might come to a mutually agreeable conclusion, like the compromise that's been suggested. Put Topalov in in exchange for making this a Candidates. If that's not acceptable, then Topalov stays out, and Kramnik should insist on it.

It may seem honorable to you that your enemies should give you anything you want no matter how badly you treat them, and ask for nothing in return, but really, we're talking about the World Championship, not the Never-Never-Land Championship.

Insomniac says, "there are more important things in at stake in the chess world."

No there isn't. Just a bunch of idiots.

Todd, you seem to have a better idea of what Kramnik signed than Kramnik himself does. Maybe you should play instead of Kramnik, too.

I'm not using the regularity of anything, I'm saying MEXICO EXISTS ALREADY. Scheduled! Funded! Promoted! Staffed! Pretending it doesn't exist or trying to throw it away in exchange for fantasy matches (don't exist! unfunded!) on the other hand is nihilism.

I'm not even saying it's easier to fund tournaments since FIDE hasn't really tried to fund matches and is a disaster at finding funding in general. But when you already have a funded event you don't flush it.

Don't flush it, play it.

Call the winner "the world champion" (or "the Easter bunny" or "ham-and-cheese-on-rye" if you prefer).

Have the winner play Kramnik.

It's not that simple. That Kramnik fulfills his obligations and then the chess world can have a fresh start. By then Kirsan, for the first time during his reign, will be in control of unified World Championship Title, free to do with it whatever he wants. This is a man who believes he has been abducted by aliens, forces kids to study chess in school and in all probability uses state property as his own. A man with shady past and over-blown sense of self importance. In other words he quite simply seems mad. He wanted to play the Kamsky-Karpov match in Baghdad. One of the KO's was played in Tripoli (remember the problems the jewish players had with their visas). The Las Vegas fiasco proved he has no idea of the appeal chess has and it's target groups. He wants quicker playing times. Tournament world championships. Knock-out world championships. And the next day it can be something else. FIDE will have the final say and there won't be then no more Classical World Champion to restrict their movement and plans. There will only be one World Champion, winner of the 15 round chess super bingo. And in 1987 Kasparov and Karpov met in Sevilla and it was a fantastic match.

What happens when, in two years, this tournament thing breaks down and Kirsan goes back to knockouts? At that point we have a new WC every year until Kirsan dies. Most chess fans probably couldn't correctly name all of FIDE's champions in the last 6 years without missing somebody. On the other hand, the last 50 years of real champions is clear, and all are legends.

My point is this - legally, Kramnik is bound by however whatever he signed is interpreted. In every other way it is a travesty to throw away the figurehead of chess, the World Champion decided in a mind-match, in this way. Even you, Mig, must realize this.

Well, 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing are also scheduled, funded, promoted and staffed. Doesn't mean Chess world will accept, say, a Gold medal decathlete as the Chess World champion in the Steinitz line.

I know, bad example, but anyway...

Mig ,the big question for you is: what is next? Assume Kramnik plays and does no win. What is next?


agreed Mexico should be played. Is it possible, thinkable at least for the event to be held as BOTH a qualification and a final match? As in: hold minimatches (4 games) in a knockout system, or play a double round robin, in order find a challenger for Kramnik (include Topalov), who will proceed to play the winner, say a week or two after the event? Maybe a month? Maybe instantly? That would give Mexico organisers their multi-player tournament spectacle AND a world championship match.

Just wishfull thinking I suppose as this would cost twice the moeny already invested, but as a theoretical idea?



agreed Mexico should be played. Is it possible, thinkable at least for the event to be held as BOTH a qualification and a final match? As in: hold minimatches (4 games) in a knockout system, or play a double round robin, in order find a challenger for Kramnik (include Topalov), who will proceed to play the winner, say a week or two after the event? Maybe a month? Maybe instantly? That would give Mexico organisers their multi-player tournament spectacle AND a world championship match.

Just wishfull thinking I suppose as this would cost twice the moeny already invested, but as a theoretical idea?


Sorry, how can I/ Can I? kill double posts?

I have learned that Topalov and Kramnik have signed identical contracts with FIDE for the Elista match.

That's why Topa knows about the contractual obligation of the winner to play in Mexico. Kramnik is making a joke of himself when saying that he doesn't remember what he signed...

Are you claiming Kramnik has a contractual responsibility to play in Mexico and put his Classical title on the line there? These are two different things of course. I'm not saying he doesn't-I have no idea, but for those of us who have not heard anything about this contract (and find it a bit hard to believe that he would have signed such a 'long range' contract when the status of his title was undetermined at that point) could you please clarify so we know whether you are making any sense?! ('screw over sponsors..shouldn't have played in Elista..')

And how did you learn that Topalov and Kramnik signed identical contracts, Giannis?

Insomniac, it just happens that I have pretty good sources in Bulgaria too! :-)

Russianbear i am with you on this one, maybe we can offer the Mexican sponsors some new t-shirts

The Dutch arbiter of the Elista match, Geurt Gijssen, proves once more how full of crap were Kok and Seirawan: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=3436 Kramnik's claims had no legal basis at all...

>>Wouldn't this idea of mine which I've aired before do the trick in keeping Kramnik in?

Kramnik might agree to it, but the other players wouldn't. They take on an extra burden (having to defend in a match), but they get no benefit in return. Instead, all the benefit goes to a guy who's not even in the tournament, who's been eliminated fair and square.

"The Dutch arbiter of the Elista match, Geurt Gijssen, proves once more how full of crap were Kok and Seirawan: Kramnik's claims had no legal basis at all..."

Looks like you misread it. All it says is that the arbiter himself had no choice but to act as he did. He never says the Appeals Committee made the right choice, which is what the lawsuit will be about. In fact, he said the opposite, that from his viewpoint it didn't matter one way or the other. Looks like you saw what you wanted to hear.

With all of the talk about FIDE going into a tournament format for the world championship permanently, I think it's worth pointing out that the world championshop format changed all the time even during stable times:


First you went from a tournament to match play, then you went from a round-robin candidates tournament to candidate matches, then you went from one interzonal to multiple interzonals...and so on. Most of the changes were minor, but some of them were fairly significant leaps, like the candidates tournament to candidates matches one.

I don't see any reason why there would be a permanent shift to tournament play even if Mexico City is regarded as a full world championship. I think aiming for a match in 2009 or even 2011 has far less potential of damaging the professional chess world.

There was a great deal more attention for Toppy-Kramnik than there was for San Luis, and sponsors are going to pay attention to that, as long as they don't get blown off (i.e. getting their events downgraded). There's always the chance that the Mexico City organizers could agree to change the format (perhaps if they could get both a tournament and the susbsequent match for no extra cost), but that's a long shot to say the least.

I think it's much more wise to aim for the next cycle to re-institute match play.

I hope you did not miss me much, nor my comments clearly biased towards Topalov. All the 4 things (rating, title, etc) don't matter. All that matters is that Topalov showed champion's play while Kramnik defended like a little dog. Kramnik should be ashamed of his style of play and should retreat the title immediatelly, apologizing that he forfeited the 5th game. He should also apologize to Danailov for his arrogant behavior and should go play in some regional Russian chess league. But not that strong one. And he should hope every game to finish draw or call for help the Kremlin mafia.
Topalov is the best thing that has happened to chess. 12 games 11 novelties, most of them fantastic ones. Anybody who cannot see that has go back to the drawing board.
Topalov is clearly the strongest player at the moment and he deserves to be number one because of his beautiful play.
Long live King Topalov

What makes you think that once the last Classical Champion (Kramnik) is dethroned (hopefully in Mexico, if Ilyumzhinov has his way), Kirsan and FIDE will switch back to matches? Kirsan's power is increased if the champion turns over every year, so he has little benefit to strenthening the influence of any other champion on the game. I suspect that the only reason he was willing to put the FIDE title on the line this time in a match was because he felt that he finally had a champion that could beat Kramnik (took about six tries to get one that made it seem possible). Fortunately, that plan failed....

You shouldn't forget that FIDE made all those changes to the world championship format in order to diminish the prestige of the title and the influence of the World Champion (in short: to prevent a new Kasparov...); the weaker the position of the champion, the more power the FIDE bureaucracy will have.
We are not there yet. Tradition has won an important victory, and I hope that Kramnik uses the prestige of his unified title in order to preserve that tradition, not to destroy it. One should also note that an important change has occured: he now seems to have institutional backing.

I hope that Topalov will play in Mexico (without him the legitimacy of the tournament would be greatly diminished, in my opinion!) and I also like the idea of calling the winner "Tournament World Champion" who then becomes the next challenger of the "Match World Champion". And the Mexicans can be happy because their tournament will be a world championship, after all.

Kramnik had to either allow a rematch to Topalov (respect the match
tradition) or enter Mexico (tournament tradition). He can't have it
Kramnik's way forever, whatever is convenient at the moment, most of
all no new match soon... He is not Kasparov to do whatever he wants --
(1) he doesn't have the credibility for that and (2) the entire idea
of unification would be a sham that he willingly participated in.


"At no point during those 13 years [of schism] was there any question who the champion was."

Probably not, but his parting with FIDE, then later going on to lose his own title match, meant that you suddenly also had two other people laying claim to being the champion ;->

Wow, you guys keep the flame going...

My ideal format would be -- tournament to define the winner to
challenge World Champion. Ultimately, I like the "match" tradition the
best. Tournaments are prone IMO to be skewed by the de-facto formation
of teams based on temporary interests/affiliations. Unfortunately, the
time-honored match tradition has been abused in the past few years and
is effectively broken right now.

Mig's comments about Mexico already been "sold" as the de-facto World
Championship are very important though. It looks very bad to backtrack
on that original advertisement. Anand, for example, already declared
that to him Mexico is the venue to project the new WC.

As far as Topalov -- he lost, so he has to get back to the chess board
and see what he can do there. For him it's back to square one.

Noting the attitude towards contractual obligations that Kramnik's
base projects demonstrate clearly to me that while Topalov has a lot
to learn from Kramnik on the board, Danailov has even more to learn
from Kramnik's team on how to screw the World smoothly and appear
virgin at the end.

Kramnik has to either allow a rematch to Topalov (respect the match
tradition) or enter Mexico (respect FIDE's tournament tradition). He
can't have it Kramnik's way forever, whatever is convenient at the
moment, most of all, no new match soon... He is not Kasparov to do
whatever he wants -- (1) his meager victories do not have the
credibility for that and (2) the entire idea of unification would be a
sham that he willingly participated in.


Elitsa, I don't mind us being biased towards Topalov, but let's not
get silly. Topalov's so called "Championship Play" was simply a loss
to a more "complete" player. Unless this is well understood, history
will be repeated. I suspect that Kramnik knows what he's talking about
when he described some of this flashy novelties as mediocre moves. I
am glad that in the last interview Topalov suggested that he
understands part of his problems.


2Mig. I agree that Kramnik of course should play in Mexico, unless all parties (organisers, all candidates, FIDE) will say it is OK that he will not play.
I made some comments in today's issue of Komanda (in Russian); comment from Ponomariov is of more interest probably. Sorry, I have no time for any tranlations at the moment...

"It would have been nice to hear him say how much the title meant to him and how badly he wants to get it back in a fair fight."

Well: what if he really considers rating to be more important? Why not? For me, rating is very important. (Not mine... I do not remember it anymore. But I remember my best rating indeed).

2548 ?

Strange to discuss that with a GM. Ratings are not such a good tool to tell about a player strength. Petrossian was indeed world champion, unbeatable in match, but a lot of people were rated (or would have been rated) higher than him.

Furthermore, with somebody like Kramnik having decided, as a general strategy to take little risks with white and zero with black, it's difficult to set a precise value. Is Kramnik worth 2800, 2850 or 2900 ? Nobody knows as long as he hasn't decided to take risks.

But one thing is clear : he's worth much more than his 2750. He was able to defeat in matches both Kasparov, 2849 at that time (and at his best level ever since after the London match Kasparov won Linares, 3 points above the second), and Topalov, 2813.

To know who's the stronger player, the most reliable data is the head to head record. Kramnik is positive against Topalov, Kasparov and Anand.

Topalov cares about the rating? Kramnik does not, and never did. Kramnik cares about being the successor of Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov. In that glorious lineage, Topalov is nobody. Shall I add ... like Leko, no more no less?

Welcome Topalov to the land of the nobodies.

The problem faced by Kirsan's FIDO and by Mexico 2007 is that words have definitions.
By definition, no "Tournament" can confer any "Match" world chess championship title. The chess public will not accept it. The outpouring of support during his match with Topalov demonstrates this.

FIDO is merely creating a new kind of WCC title; which is of little or no interest to the historic Match WCC title. Heck the Seattle Chess Club could also create a new WCC title if it was silly enough to bother.
It is a question of which WCC title the global chess public will respect more. I believe the public will side with the long traditions of history, instead of with Kirsan.

Fine. When Mexico 2007 begins, Kramnik's Match WCC title goes into suspended storage where it will be owned by no player. Mexico gets to transfer Topalov's "FIDE Tournament WCC" title to a new player.

The current plan really cheats the Mexico sponsor. Chess enthusiasts around the globe will ridicule the WCC claims of this tournament, more than tainting its prestige. Plus the winner will get less prestige than he would get by additionally earning a challenge opportunity for the one genuine Match WCC title that matters.

Steinitz and Zukertort created the Match World Chess Champion title, FIDO did not. Kirsan certainly did not. S & Z created their title to be a match title.
Yes 1948 was a tournament exception, because Alekhine was dead. But now in 2006-2007 Kramnik is still alive.

Gene Milener

Topalov comes off as surprisingly childish and sour-grapes ("now that I've lost the WC, it's suddenly worthless!"). Kramnik's not perfect, but he's much more of a gentleman. He does not downplay his opponents' achievements. In my opinion, Kramnik is right to deny Topalov a rematch. Screw him if he insists on acting like a jerk.

I agree with 'Ruslan'. Ratings are over-rated.

I could not care less whether Petrosian was ranked first on some mathematical formula during the 1960's. Petrosian beat Botvinnik, period.

Andy Soltis published in Chess Life an article explaining some of the baloney that goes into ratings.

Ratings are warped by players who dodge certain tournaments in favor of others, due to considerations of how each choice would affect his ratings.

In some years there are players who play less than they would like, so as to avoid a possible decline in their rating. How is that good for chess?

I am sure tennis player Stan Smith values his 1972 Wimbledon victory much more than someone would value once being ranked second or first in the world by the ATP computer system.

Just a thought...but wouldn't Svidler and possibly Morozevich amongst others possible 'not' try to win Mexico in order to let Kramnik screw FIDE? I wonder...Leko is moral, but I don't think the others want Topalov on the pedestal dictating with Kirsan in the near future...


I don't, to be honest with you. However, changing the format of the 2007 cycle wthout the consent of the Mexico organizers won't make sponsors more likely to give money toward chess events, and that lack of sponsors would surely increase Ilyumzhinov's power.

"the title itself is nothing for me. "

If true, this is the sad! And he was ranting about how kramnik was disrespectful towards the match? idiot, terrible ambassador for chess.

The idea of shafting Mexico is overrated. When they signed a contract to host a tournament for the "World Championship", the "World Championship" referred to in the contract was the FIDE Championship ONLY. They did not sign a contract to host a tournament for the Unified Championship or the Classical Championship. FIDE did not have those titles to sell when the contract was signed.

So give Mexico exactly what they paid for: A tournament for the FIDE Championship title. This would have the effect of de-unifying the title again temporarily, until the winner of that tournament played another unification match with Kramnik for the Unified Title.

Why can't Topalov play instead of Kramnik. Mexicans are happy and Kramnik is happy.

Mig if you read this, please delete the above post. I should get into the habit of reading what comes before! Thanks.

It is absolutely ridiculous to have a tournament for the world championship, when there is already a standing champion. Topalov played his aggresively-pragmatic/slightly-unsound style at San Luis, and it worked there - but look what happened to him against Kramnik. It didn't fare well against one focused opponent (who was the better player). His comments now, and the shameful actions of his manager during the match, reflect his inability to recognize defeat.

To be the man, you should have to beat the man. And the man is Kramnik, the only player to defeat a 2800 player in a match (and he defeated two. Mexico should be a candidate's tournament, and the winner faces Kramnik.

The Mexico tournament is funded, scheduled, promoted, and staffed. The t-shirts are printed. And we don't want to stiff a sponsor. The Mexico WCC tournament will happen. A few questions remain:

Should Topalov be invited?
--Why not? Even Kramnik's in favor of that.

Should Kramnik participate if he is legally bound to do so?
--Of course.

If Kramnik is not legally bound to play in Mexico, is he nonetheless ethically bound?
--After FIDE's conduct in Elista, obviously not.

If Kramnik is not legally or morally bound, should he nonetheless participate in the Mexico WCC tournament?
--No. The only reason we had the Elista match is because Kramnik did not play in San Luis, preserved the classical title, and stayed out in the cold. If Kramnik does not play in Mexico and goes back out into the cold, Kirsan would again be pressured toward a) another WCC match and b) a candidates match system. If Kramnik plays in Mexico, we'll never see another FIDE WCC match. (Kramnik's absence from Mexico would not hurt the sponsors, who prefer Topalov.)

If Kramnik skips Mexico and FIDE continues its tournament WCC tradition, (San Luis, Mexico, _____) what should Kramnik do?
--Stage a qualification event and play his fourth world chess championship, in 2008 or 2009.

Ultimately, a consistently successful Kramnik, less polarizing, more diplomatic, backed wholeheartedly by his own nation and many others as well, might be able to learn from Kasparov's mistakes and form a stable, functioning alternative to the hopelessly corrupt FIDE.

regarding to the ireful Geurt Gijssen's notes.

I've made a small record Yasser Seirawan online comments during game #9 on this subject.

you can listen to this recording at:


hope, this will be interesting to those who didn't have a chance to listen Yasser's commentaries online.

Suppose the Mexico tournament was a godawful one-round ladder blitz where rock paper scissors was used as tiebreak. Let's further suppose that it was sealed, signed, paid for, delivered, bought and ready to take place tomorrow.

What would you as chess fan say? You would say: "Who cares? Having a tournament like this is the same as having no tournament at all!"

Not fair to the sponsor? Offer the sponsor to host the championship match instead. Explain how chess fans and general public are drawn to those a lot more. Use Chessninja and other band traffic as support. If the sponsor says no, this isn't the kind of sponsor we want anyway.

Ultimately, the question of having/not having Mexico pales next to the question of Kramnik's ability to put on a healthy cycle. So far he has one short match after two years of seeking and one highly criticized abortion of a candidates tournament to show. All crazy ideas Ivanchuk-Anand-Kasparov round-robins and tournament formula similar to tennis went no further than brief mention. But now Kramnik seems a lot more focused on the situation, realize the importance of having a cycle and not distracted by off the board health issues. Let's see what he can do.

After the "Appellations Committee is completely wrong but can not reverse its decision" stunt pulled in Elista, there can be little obligation on Kramnik to play Mexico City.

I'm amazed how petty and downright vicious people get when dissecting Topalov's every comment. Obviously the title meant a lot to him. What do you expect him to say after losing the title game? Now I know why the yellow press exists -- people love to bite on a piece of dirt and chew on it forever. Next, all comments should go through a PR firm to mangle it into an indigestible politically correct nonsense that satisfies every idiot on Earth.


Turn Mexico into a WC Match between Anand and Kramnik. that would be even better than the Mexico match as proposed right now.

Mext I want to say Mig that I am very disappointed in you and this thread. I remember reading a few days back that you are working for someone in Mexico tournament and that you were going to propose to them that they turn Mexico into a Candidates with Topalov and allow Mexico to sponsor a WC match with the winner of the first tournament and Kramnik.

Now you must have talked to them and you come back here really very heavy arguing everything in favor of the sponsors of Mexico. I know you are totally biased in this thread. I think you need to first state that in this thread. YOu need to tell us what happened and how you suddenly changed your mind.

For me. I do not want kramnik to play in mexico as now planned. I want kramnik to play match championships. I know that you felt this way very strongly just a few days ago. It is not totally honest of you to do a flip and not be open and tell us what happened.

I remember back when San Luis was played. after the tournament Kirsan was so pleased that the tournament received good press compared to the knockout format that he decided to stick with a tournament format.

I expect that Kirsan should now see that the Match format is hugely more impressive on the world scene than the tournament method and I expect that Kirsan should change his mind again and embrace the Match format.

Kirsan signed this agreement with Mexico at a time when everyone was saying it was so uncertain. In fact Mexico might have obtained this agreement without bids from other cities. When Mexico was announced everyone was surprised. it came out of thin air.

Mexico knew at the time it was signing a very risky contract. they knew things could go "wrong". and of course they are now trying to go wrong. Mexico should try to cut its losses short. it needs to seek a new compromise with fide. and then go on with life.

You mig must learn to support the correct thing for the long term. the correct decision for the long term is to stick with Match champions. Fide signed up the tournament with Mexico in an attempt to kill off the Match championships.

so I say tough luck. Mexico knew it was a risky contract that might not work out. and after signing fide had an opportunity to take a new big risk on Mexico by unifying the championship. well sometimes when you take risks you lose.

Now mig please tell us why you are so strongly changing your mind. what happened when you talked to the Mexican sponsors. they must have cried and you were sympathetic and joined their side of this debate.

Did I get a kick out of the above Yin-Yang battles. The Yins want to nurse the Mexican child and the despicably uncaring Yangs want to de-unify the title.

I am with those despicable Yangs, BTW. FIDE can stroke and fondle their tournament title as much as they want, I respect the match title only.

My reading of Gijssen's article is that he justifies himself, and not the decision of the Appeal Committee. Gijssen wrote several times in that one article about "...whether the decision of the Appeal Committee was right or wrong...I had no choice..."

Significantly, Gijssen attended Kramnik's post-match press conference in Moscow. It's not a stretch, I think, that with this gesture Gijssen tacitly hinted that own decision would have been in Kramnik's favour if he had a choice.

Who will think of the T-shirts?!

Oh, Mig will. Thanks, Mig.

Let's say Toppy stays out in the cold, Kramnik's bound to play in Mexico, and the 8-player double-RR goes off as planned in '07.

Kramnik has a decent shot of winning this tournament, doesn't he?

If he wins Mexico City, and declines to sign any more tournament-based championship cycles with FIDE, is this a problem?


You're right about disappointing sponsors and organisers if Kramnik doesn't play in this tournament. But that is really FIDE's problem. Just because you plan event as a world championship tournament doesn't mean that it will be one.

I guess what I'm saying is, don't plan an event and be surprised when the classical world champion insists on a match. Don't insist on some sympathy "but I put all this hard work into it" vote, you won't get it from Kramnik, you won't get it from chess fans, and you won't get it from me.

Look at this objectively. The title is about 100 years old. Thats a 100 years of champions, matches, and chess history. Now we have FIDE, which in the year 2006, saying that because of all this work they put into the Mexico tournament we should scrap the 100 year history. Now who's being fair.

Mig, what you're asking isn't fair to Kramnik, it isn't fair to the fans, and it certainly isn't fair to chess.

Quotes from a noted chess writer about FIDE, Kirsan, sponsors, long matches, etc.:

"I truly hope this [Kramnik-Topalov match] is for real, and that it is a success immense enough for FIDE to realize that matches matter and that this final tournament idea is a joke in comparison." January 24, 2006

"But Ilyumzhinov has long since made clear his dislike of long matches. As currently scheduled by FIDE this exception for unification [Elista 2006] would be the last long match for the world championship in chess history." April 14, 2006

"Then of course there are the concerns that handing Ilyumzhinov and FIDE the unified title so they can debase it with tournaments and rapid games isn't what the game needs." April 14, 2006

Its also worth mentioning that FIDE isn't a bargaining agent for the WC title. They don't have it now, and they didn't have it then. Kramnik is the world champion (he beat Kasparov and Topalov is WC matches, theres nothing disputable about that) and its worth consulting him on how the title he posesses will be challenged. Especially, if you're FIDE, considering every World Champion has been decided through matches and now you're booking and world championship TOURNAMENT??

"I'd like to see a match, but FIDE stabbed us in the back with the change to another final tournament instead of a match at the end of their announced cycle.....But it's more than the change itself, it's the illustration of how this FIDE cannot be trusted." November 21, 2005

"FIDE has announced a classical cycle, although they later screwed it up by swapping the final matches for another San Luis tournament. If Kramnik moves in with FIDE, the long-match tradition goes into a coma." November 16, 2005

"FIDE and chess politics have been corrupt for ages, but since everyone benefits except for the poor sponsors, whose money disappears, it continues.... For every sponsor that is brought in another dozen might be driven off by a reputation for graft and scandal." February 19, 2003.

Oh, and about Topalov's behavior. The students at Denker tournaments exhibit more professionalism in a tournament round than Topalov has in his entire career.


Viswanathan Anand beat Vladimir Kramnik 18 to 12, with 84 draws. According to chessgames, not sure if this includes/excludes rapid games).


Agree to some extent with Frank H on this. You regularly dissed San Luis as just another Linares, but now Mexico is the Bees knees.

I realise you are employed by Mexico and have to toe the party line, but you shouldn't get prickly when people call it for what it is - BS.

FWIW, here's my solution

Topalov replaces (or preferably joins) Kramnik in Mexico for the Tournament World title.

Kramnik plays the winner of Mexico (IN MEXICO) for the Classical world title (unless Kramnik wins, in which case he is the undisputed WC).

Then we have the following 2 year cycle for future WCs

Zonals (+ some high rating players) to qualify for 80 player Knockout

80 player Knockout to 5 people.

Classical WC + loser of classical match + 2nd place in previous Tournament WC to join them for tournament WC.

Tournament WC (or 2nd place) to play Classical WC for title

This has the following advantages:

For Kramnik and match fans- the great Classical world title tradition continues. Also Kramnik or whoever the classical World champion is should have the right to play for the Tournament world Championship
For Topalov and those who want the next cycle to include the no 1 player - he is not eliminated from the next cycle.
For Mexico- they get two guaranteed world championships and the match would more than compensate for the demotion in status of next year's event.
For Kirsan- there is a cycle controlled by FIDE (preferably through Bessel Kok) and his knockouts live on.
For ordinary GMS- they can see a cycle that gives them a route (no matter how remote) to be WC.

The only people who I see being at a disadvantage would be those who have qualified for Mexico. This is where I see it all falling down as they will act in their own selfish self interest... (even Kramnik will do that, - it just coincides that his self interest currently matches the best interest of chess).

Oh dear- back to square 1

>"FIDE and chess politics have been corrupt for ages, but since everyone benefits except for the poor sponsors, whose money disappears, it continues.... For every sponsor that is brought in another dozen might be driven off by a reputation for graft and scandal." February 19, 2003.

very very wise this one, it should be engraved on the entrance wall of the building where FIDE dismantling were to be debated, to be kept in mind against would be "successes of FIDE" arguments

Revolutions and counterrevolutions of course break rules and contracts and existing arrangements and create new ones. The problem that all would-be anti-FIDE counterrevolutionaries* posting here have is that they don't have any GMs or serious chess organizers on board with them ready to trash FIDE and create the post-FIDE world chess organization of the future. The ACP is not on board with them, and no national federations are on board with them, and in particular the World Champion's home federation is not on board with them, and neither is the World Champion. The anti-FIDE counterrevolution is not about to take place.

No, GM Kramnik's "counterrevolutionary" tendencies do not extend further than to being ready to say, in the event of not playing in Mexico City or of not coming in first, "but I am, of course, still the real World Champion."

After San Luis, the number of people who were willing to say "but GM Kramnik is, of course, still the real World Champion" was not so great. Having beaten GM Topalov in a FIDE-sponsored match, GM Kramnik is now accepted by all as World Champion, but that does not mean that all of us who said after San Luis that Topalov was World Champion were wrong for a year.

Furthermore, let me point out that GM Kramnik obtained the right to play GM Topalov for the title by submitting a bid under FIDE's own rules. GM Topalov put his title at stake because FIDE's rules obliged him to do so. Wouldn't there be something a little bit odd about obtaining a title match by using FIDE's challenge process, and then saying, after winning that match and taking Kirsan's money, "but now we can forget about FIDE's process; in the future, I will play whomever I please"? About obtaining and winning a "Unification Match", in the full knowledge that FIDE was planning a WC tournament in 2007 and that the only title at stake had a 12-month sell-by date on it, and then immediately Disunifying again?

It seems to me that people's adherence to the two dogmas, the "FIDE owns the title" dogma and the "succession of match victories" dogma, varies greatly with the latest news in the chess world. When GM Topalov had a good victory in San Luis, and GM Kramnik played a drawn match with GM Leko in Brissago, the FIDElitists were riding high. When GM Kramnik wins a match with Topalov and Azmai's Appeals Committee loses the battle of public opinion concerning toilets, then the Successicrats come back strong.

But everything depends on the latest headlines. If Mexico City (without GM Kramnik) produces lackluster games and the winner is chosen by breaking a three-way tie, then the Successicrats will look good. But if someone exciting, like GM Carlsen, for example, becomes FIDE's WC-presumptive after winning Mexico City by two points, the FIDElitists will start to look good again, and if GM Kramnik then doesn't play a match with Carlsen, but plays GM Anand (who came in 4th in Mexico, say) "for the title" and wins on draw odds again, or (God forbid) has a flare-up of his arthritis and can't play matches for a few years, then the FIDElitists will be riding high and the Successicrats will be as unpopular as the FIDElitists are today.

The dogmatic FIDElitists have difficult days when whoever is at the helm of FIDE comes up with some unpopular and unclassical and arbitrary scheme for selecting the "World Champion", like the 128-player knockout system, for example, or when the Successicrat pretender to the throne looks particularly sympathetic. At the same time, however, the dogmatic Successicrats, like real-world royalists, are hostage to the desires, principles, prejudices, and good health of the individual monarch of the day; and some days you get Peter the Great, but other days you get Ivan the Terrible or Nicholas II.

If there is a synthesis to be gotten at, it has to be gotten either by (a) reformist means, i.e., winning FIDE over to a consistent match-play cycle, or (b) by making the counterrevolution, and (b) isn't happening, so we're back to (a). However, you cannot start to win FIDE over to anything by undermining the 2007 championship. The problems with FIDE are mostly due to the problems in the economic organization of top-level chess. Kirsan is not the cause of these problems, he is the product of these problems. Successful and prosperous chess organizers, in a positive media climate, will be more disposed to and more capable of further reforms.

In an ideal world (for chess), therefore, GM Kramnik would play in Mexico and make subsequent claims to be the World Champion only if he actually wins the tournament. At least for a while! :-) Nothing of course would prevent him from returning from exile like Bonnie Prince Charlie at some future date if FIDE's WC selection process becomes particularly insupportable, and its "champions" particularly touristy.

* I would say that the FIDElitist revolution took place in 1948, so the Successicrats would have to make a counterrevolution.

I have already stated before my opinion before, but here comes:

1)2007 Mexico is turned into a candidates event with Toiletl...ok, Topalov playing.

2)The winner, THE CHALLENGER meets Kramnik in 2008 for the Title.

3) A new cycle is formed to find a challenger. The cycle ends in match - WC match in 2011. (So a 3-year cycle.)

In case Mexico accepts to demote their 2007 event into a candidates event they should get the last bid for the WC match 2008...Meaning that after all the other bids have been published Mexico can bid more if they so choose.

If Mexico arranges the event without either Topalov (he can't be there..lost the match in Elista) or Kramnik (he shouldn't be there to devaluate the title) it's going to be a forgettable and somewhat hated event in any case. Is that what they want?

Also I would like to shoot down the idea of choosing a Tournament Champion: a great way of devaluating the Title is to add the number of them! Eventually no one is interested in it anymore, cos everyone else also has some stupid Boondock Redneck Championship Title in their pocket...Which reminds me of a real example: Some Accoona Blabla Franco-American Championship that took place a while back? What **** was that? Gimme a break! Is that what we want? Nonsense champions? Forgettable events? C'mon! Remember Buenos Aires 1927? Reykyavik 1972? Baguio City 1978? Seville 1987? New York 1995?

Mig writes as if it is an either-or situation- either you hold the 'championship' tournament in Mexico OR you screw the Mexicans over by holding the classical match. Why does it have to be either-or? I think the Mexicans have shown a deep understanding and love for chess, so I think they would be sensible and enthusiastic if FIDE came to them with the following proposal:

1. Hold the tournament (with Topalov) as a qualifying tourney

2. Mexico also gets to hold the world championship match (yes, Mexico would have to come up with the money for this match, but I bet they would be happy to do so)

3. Continue all following cycles in the same manner, ie. qualifying tournament with classical match following.

The one thing I really don't like is having several players from the tournament automatically qualifying for the next tournament. These few players (Moro, Anand, etc) get too large an advantage and take up qualifying spots that should be open to all players. These players should have had to compete again if they wanted a qualifying spot.

Also, if Kramnik does play in Mexico as things stand, then he is only putting up the faux-FIDE title on the line, not the classical title. Who cares about the FIDE title if it is worthless?

Toppy treatment

Dimi - the reason Toppy is getting so much flak for his comments is that most of Toppy's post match comments betray a lack of maturity. Look he lost the match obviously there are things he can do better next time. So the simple grown up response is "I lost the match I've learnt some lessons. I believe I can beat him and I will do next time" What did we get from Toppy? Before the match huh Kramniks rating is lower he is not a serious contender for a match. After losing the match? Huh my rating is still higher all he can do is +2 in tournaments I'll do better. Is this waht Kasparov said after losing the match to Kramnik? Not at all and Kasparov's rating was higher than Toppy's.

Mexico tournament

Much as I like Kramnik I think Mig is basically right - if you contract for a tournament then you should play. However Toppy cannot play - if you start breaking the rules to allow him in after he lost then I think the agreements lose validity. Toppy's absence should be no problem for the sponsor (s) they want a world title tourney and Kram earned his right by eliminating Toppy in a match. But does this mean that Kramnik if he doesnt win Mexico should be regarded as having lost his classical title - ah thats a different point I believe there's nothing in the contracts about that. The Mexico tourney is for the FIDE title. The best outcome is for Kramnik to compete and then a match to be organised between Kramnik and the winner or Kramnik and the runner up. this gives the sponsors their world title match but still ensures someone needs to take on Kram in match play. therefater the cycle which MIG has been pointing out has not existed for years can begin ........

Sory in my lost post I meant to write this gives th sponsors their world title TOURNEY not match

People, what are you talking about? Kramnik has already agreed that he will play in Mexico.

Wake up! There is no "classical" or "non-classical" title anymore...

I would agree that the most sensible approach is the one where the
Mexico Tournament projects the next challenger for a match with
Kramnik. Topalov plays of course, as the loser of the previous
championship match, now being part of the general population of
high-ranked chessplayers.

Makes perfect sense, BUT (!!) The real challenge -- existing

How would the German organizers feel, for example, if FIFA suddenly
declared that the World Cup this Summer was not the event to define
the "Champion", but just the "Challenger"... Doesn't it fall in a
hurry from 1-st rate event to 3-rd rate, totally forgettable, "don't
bother me till it gets interesting" type of event? I guess so. Nobody
cares about the early stages, the attention (advertisement==$$$$$)
culminates at the end.

And then what are the expectations of the other GMs -- I suspect that
they didn't care who won the match T-K, but that there's finally a
unified system to declare a Champion.

On another note: why would the losing party of the Championship match
not be allowed to participate in the next round of competition?? What
is the logic behind this? I'm not disputing the contract, if it is
signed, it should be carried out. But I'm not sure what the hell this
concoction is all about?? In what other sport we see such things?


Theodulf: very thoughtful comments, breaking the monotony of nonsense.

Andy: On Topalov -- immature, sour comments -- sure, I agree. But who
is foreign to them? Kasparov? Kramnik? Leko? Who? Why play the
torturer and overanalyze the comments of a person who just lost. When
Kramnik was down, he declared that he lost because he "just wasn't
himself". Fine. Let's move on...

Mr X: on a tangential, but important matter -- Mt. Toilet Seat is
Kramnik, not Topalov if you can swallow it.

Dimi: I agree, don't judge a man too harshly by his statements right after he loses, but Topalov's comments in general have had a distinctly nastier tenor than Kramnik's. I can't see someone like Anand or Leko being similarly sour-grapes after a loss, even in off-the-cuff remarks.

New BS from Geurt Gijssen. Sure, he has not to verify the decisions of the appeal comittee gang. Thats not his job. But he has to check if the playing conditions are appropriate before starting a game.

They clearly and openly weren't, and he could see this, and so he was not allowed to start the game. Error Geurt Gijssen

I'm trying to understand what could possibly be going on in Topalov's mind. Could he be so naive as not to realize the effect his recent words and actions are having on his reputation? Or might he be "evil"/ruthless enough not to care what anyone thinks? Is he so motivated by money/prestige as to want to win the title at any cost? Or is he childlike away from the chessboard, completely controlled by Danailov? (Seems dubious, yet in a way preferable to the alternatives.)

From someone as talented as he is, and with a long reputation for (especially relative to other GMs) decency, recent events just don't make sense.

Has anyone on this board actually met the former FIDE WC?

Reading the article by Geurt Gijssen, I disagree with him. It shows that Geurt does not know what he is talking about. He totally skipped over the central fact in this case. the fact that the contract was null and void.

I think Geurt was dead wrong.


Frank, from where exactly do you get the impression that "the contract was null and void"?

No contract was null. Kramnik's reaction was based on an "ethical" point of view, not a legal one.

I guess the reason there has been such a reaction against Toppy's comments is that sense that being a top sportsman at the top of his profession there is some sort of responsibility to engage brain before speaking - to be a bit thoughtful. Anyway its over time to move on I for one will focus on his chess and forget about his comments.

As for the Mexico WCC it just seems a huge intractable mess. Respecting the agreements means a tournament for the WCC with Kramnik and without Topalov. It was what was signed up for - and everyone knew exactly what they were signing up for. Now with the result of the match people have problems sticking to their signed agreements. Oh Topalov lost oh dear that was not supposed to happen lets go back on what was signed and put him in anyway. As soon as you do that Kramnik can turnaround and say ah your changing things this tournament has to have Topalov because he has such a big rating ok I will sit this out and play the winner. As soon as the deal is changed for Topalov
its opening Pandoras box. Stick to the signed agreements put the ball in Kramniks court and see what he does. Of course Kramnik talking up the inclusion of Topalov is a part of a cat and mouse game but its a big mistake to try to include Topalov.........

yeah, Geurt Gijssen going mad!

now he has written this silly letter it is most obvious he is not capable of his job.

He was not famous for thinking anyway, but this is bottom line. He is not bearable as arbiter after this trash, he must retire.

he can't do the easiest things. If the appeals comittee gang would decide, "oh, we're playing without rooks this time, the decision is final" Geurt Gijssen would start the game. Stupid.

Instead he throws wild accusations to well known grandmasters. He disqualifies himself with this Amok-Run.

Mig sez: "Predictable but sad to see Topalov's remarks about the title vs rating. ....It would have been nice to hear him say how much the title meant to him and how badly he wants to get it back in a fair fight."

Exactly. This is the part that disappoints me more than the toilet crap (pun intended) because I could have been convinced that either a) Topalov honestly believed it (less likely) b) Was so hurt over the cheating allegations levelled at him that he wanted some return in kind (more likely). However I would have loved to see some grace and humility in the final reckoning, and acknowledgement that Kramnik is for now the top dog. At least Kramnik has acknowledged Topalov's chess ability, but I guess its easier to be graceful in victory than in defeat.

Incredible silly logic by Ellrond.

How can "closing a toilet" be the same as "playing without rooks"? Jesus, a big part of the population has been left with no brains at all...

I want to stick up for Geurt Gijssen I think he behaved impeccably and acted absolutely correctly and professionally within the limits of his role as defined by the rules. He had no authority to do anything else certainly not start determining whether the contract was broken or not. His brokering of a very short mutually agreed delay while Kramnik read Kirsans letter was the maximum he could do. Yassers's criticism of the Chief Arbiter were loose and unjustified and I am sure that on reflection he would accept that. He is a completely independant respected person and acted in an exemplary manner

Elrond - we all know closing the toilet was Kirsan's decision was and totally wrong but the Chief Arbiter was not the man to sort this out - that was not his job. Of course there are things that could have been done which would have made the Chief Arbiters job untenable such as removing rooks or having Kramnik at the chess table bound and gagged but closing the individual toilets was not one of those. In the event of an extreme change all the Chief Arbiter could do was resign Is that what you think he should have done???? As for Yasser - he his human (not a chess god)he made some mistakes on this issue and went public with some unjustified comments.

I agree that shafting MC would be bad for chess, and that contracts should be upheld, the question is: What is the alternative? Should the speed whith which Kirsan makes deals seal the fate of the WC cycle?

Envision this:
The last day of the MC tournament, someone or other won and Kirsan is announcing that he has signed a contract with North Korea for the next tournament. In two weeks. Or five years. And beacause the contract is signed we should simply play nicely. Oh, and and half the games will be rapids...

It is not a simple question of a deal is a deal is a deal. It is the infinately more horrible question of when do we draw the line.

Of course we are lucky enough to have a champion who have made that difficult choice succesfully, not so long ago.


WC should be decided by matches (in mexico f.i.). Nuff said.

More thoughts on these matters from a noted chess writer:

"[FIDE] just released new guidelines for the 2005-07 cycle and the main change is that the semifinal and final matches have disappeared....This illustrates one of the often discussed fears of title unification under FIDE. They have no respect whatsoever for classical chess or the championship lineage. Even worse, they lie about it, as we can see from this spontaneous rule change.Losing the world championship match is the worst part. We have tournaments like San Luis regularly already and the championship should be unique." October 25, 2005

"And FIDE has lost interest in commercial sponsorship since the horribly mismanaged FIDE Commerce debacle. To aid your memory, that's when they put a buddy thug in charge of rustling up money and he promptly attacked traditional tournaments." November 15, 2005

"The FIDE edifice is hollow and condemned. It needs to be torn down so something decent can be built on the land, not propped up (new names with no power) or given a paint job (matches with no commercial sponsorship instead of a cycle). This isn't a matter of making the right move. For anyone who actually cares about the game it's a forced move." May 16, 2006


Could this noted writer be blogmaster for a successful blog, have written for Chessbase and have strong Argentine links?

Does anyone actually KNOW what Kramnik has agreed with FIDE on his possible presence in Mexico? If his contract clearly states that he has to replace Topalov in case of a win then that's that. If not it is FIDE who has screwed up the contracts and bears responsibility towards the sponsor.

I do agree that contracts need to be honored if chess ever wants to be regarded as a professional, sponsorable sport. If everybody agrees on getting the matches back that needs to be fixed in the next cycle.

Unification. Isn't it great?

I'm with Mig on this. Can't they just play one cycle without changing the rules halfway through? If Kramnik doesn't play in Mexico he is as big a crybaby as Topalov. Why should everybody else have to wait until Kramnik is satisfied?

I'm all for changing the format of the cycle after Mexico though.

FIDE have already broken the contract with Kramnik countless times - re the bathrooms, giving Topalov's team full access to the video tapes, previews of the letters to Kramnik (source GG).

Why should Kramnik have contractual obligations to FIDE when they have shown a complete disregard for the above contracts? Also, if Topalov is added to the tourney, they will have changed Mexico irrevocably.

All these people who think FIDE will change the format once Mexico is over are living in cloud-cuckoo land. Trouble is all these people who jump in and out of bed with FIDE are going to get their fingers burnt - even you Mig.

Kramnik has defended his title twice in 6 years against people who have won qualifiers. He could also find sponsors and I'm pretty sure he could put his title on the line within 2 years. He is doing a grand job.

There's a small problem with that though. You won't change the format of the cycle after Mexico. Kirsan will.

To quote Mig himself (I presume): "They have no respect whatsoever for classical chess or the championship lineage. Even worse, they lie about it, as we can see from this spontaneous rule change. Losing the world championship match is the worst part. We have tournaments like San Luis regularly already and the championship should be unique."

"Then of course there are the concerns that handing Ilyumzhinov and FIDE the unified title so they can debase it with tournaments and rapid games isn't what the game needs."


Kramnik playing in Mexico would hand Kirsan the unified title. Those who insist Kramnik should play, yet want to protect the Match Championship, what do you not understand about this?

From flirting with Baghdad (and Saddam Hussein) in 1996 to toilet-gate in 2006 (Yes, it was Kirsan's decision to lock the toilets if you read Makropoulos) isn't there ample proof that you cannot trust the judgement, nor the honesty of this madman, and that you should think twice before handing him full rights to the unified title to do with it as he pleases?

The minimum requirement should be to get black on white guarantees from him that after Mexico 2007, the classical match cycle would be re-started. Although I wouldn't trust him on that either, and can't see the point of one World Championship tournament breaking the long traditional match cycle. Seems madness to me, and hardly could attract more sponsors in the long term.

Think Frank H's post was spot on. Mig's not being honest now. Seems obvious, reflecting on his earlier writings.

Geurt Gijssen seems to have acted as he was required but it is clear he did not agree with the decision itself.

If the title isn't important to Topalov, then why did he insist on continuing at 3-2 after the game 5 forfeit? Clearly, he would have been perfectly happy to agree with Kramnik and continue at 3-1.

At least Danailov got his come-uppance:


Apologies for this not being on-thread, but Short's column in the Guardian today says tersely: "Unfortunately, this is my last column for the Guardian. I have very much enjoyed writing here."

Anyone have any more information about this? Is it unexpected? By his own choice?

hey, got you up all, with Gijssen, good. At least Andi and Giannis caught the point here. It all depends of the severity of the breach of playing conditions. Without rooks, stop play. Without toilets, stop play or not stop play?

Gijssen does not even consider, that this depends on the severity of the disturbance. In his argumentation, he would accept any disturbance, if it comes from a decision of the appeals comittee gang, whatsoever decided, even without rooks. That is "Kadavergehorsam" and "put your brain of" mentality.

That he himself had to decide how severe the disturbance of playing conditions is, this idea is unknown to him.

If Topa-/Danailov think so low about the Title('Kramnik may have the title, but I am still number 1 in ratings and that is what counts), then why bother with a challenge for a rematch? I mean, if the title means nothing? Would anyone pay 1,5 million for nothing? Or better yet: would anyone pay 1,5 million for someone else to get a possibility to acquire something they don't even value at all? Topalov and his big mouth(=Danailov) are really a sad and ILLOGICAL pair.....or are they one these says? I'm confused...but I don't care! Crap is crap whether it's a chunk or two of it!

Theorist, I noticed that too- it is a shame as he always hads something interesting to write. This week's column has "paraskevidekatriaphobia" and "tergiversations"

I wonder if the fallout from the Kamsky conversation has reached Guardian towers

I have written to the Guardian saying that his column will be missed.

Shame that Barden wasn't pensioned off instead - he is so bland and I'm sure is just there because he is old and served his time.


I don't want to preserve the match tradition! I think the match tradition has been the main cause of the mess (as well as FIDE incompetence). If it's a choice between giving Kramnik control of the title or Kirsan, I'd rather give it to Kirsan. At least we might end up with a fair competition, rather than one player awarding himself huge priviliges. The mess can never be sorted out if one player considers himself above the rest.

Best of all would be to get somebody half-decent to run FIDE.

I am just amazed at the way Ellrond and others keep going on against Gijssen for not overruling the decision of the Appeals Committee, which according to the match regulations is the final authority. It's true that Gijssen could have resigned; if you want to get on his case for not resigning at least that would make sense. I wouldn't agree, but it would make sense. But don't pretend that Gijssen had some sort of legal right to overrule the final authority over the match! This is like complaining after the 2000 elections that the Washington D.C. police should have overruled the Supreme Court and arrested George W. Bush for keeping President Gore out of the White House.

Spud you said something like: '...with Kirsan we might end up with a fair competition, rather than one player awarding himself huge privileges.'

Hmm....Kramnik hasn't done anything of the sort -gathering privileges: he arranged Dortmund 2002 as qualifier and all the top dogs where invited -the fact that some didnt want to participate was their choice, but let me remind that also Topalov was there. When it comes to FIDE ....remember Tripoli....was it 2004 (sorry an easy-to-forget-and-should-be forgotten-tournament)? Some 'top dogs' (=were qualified) that should have been there, couldn't participate! Was that fair? (I am not pro-jew or against them either, but) to talk about fair when it comes to FIDE is a joke of a macaber calibre!

The debates on contracts fail to see the greater scheme of things which is that FIDE screws up everything, regardless of whether contracts are valid or not, or whether there have been any contracts at all or not.

The debates on investments fail to see the greater scheme of things which is that FIDE screws up everything, regardless of whether there have been any investments made by anyone or not at all.

The debates on contracts, investments and other mechanics fail to see that FIDE screwed everything up since 11 years, why support their whims?

Better support Kramnik with his match cycle which will certainly have elements of the Bessel Kok programs, if only because common sense elements of match cycle and programs overlap.

Bessel Kok is not going to join FIDE for this reason alone, but that's another topic.

Mr X,

Seeding yourself into the final = Awarding yourself huge priviliges. In no other sport bar boxing does a champion get such an advantage.

As for the KO's, yes they were a joke.

A sensible comment from John Saunders' blog (he's the editor of British Chess Magazine). If the contracts were written in such robust language, Vlad must be quaking in his boots...

"Once again I had a look at the FIDE Handbook online to see if they corroborated the theory that Topa has a right to an instant return match. Not that I have any faith in what appears there - if you read my recent blog titled 'Pirate's Rules', you will find out how valid, up-to-date and comprehensive these rules are. Or rather, are not.

Here's what I found...

Match for the World Chess Championship

FIDE is examining the possibility of interim World Championship matches according to the following basic frameset:

A Any player with a published FIDE rating of 2700 and over can issue a challenge to the reigning World Champion for a World Championship match. The
challenge can be accepted by the World Champion only after the approval of FIDE.

B The organizing cost of the match, the prize fund and the contribution payment to FIDE shall be guaranteed by sponsor/sponsors.

C Even if the above conditions are met, the World Champion is not obliged to accept the challenge unless a minimum prize, set by FIDE, is offered as
compensation to the World Champion.

Any lawyer would just laugh at this. "...examining the possibility" is a form of words that has no place in a rule book. It has no legal force that I can see. So we can dismiss it out of hand. But, even if we couldn't, there is a clear contradiction between points A and C. Point A talks about "... can be accepted" - suggesting
that the world champion can say yes or no to a challenge - but point C (the "unless" clause) suggests that a challenge cannot be refused if the loser's share is of the minimum size (and this is presumably what Danailov is relying on).

So the 'rules' turn out to be ambiguous nonsense. On a rational level, anyway. But, since FIDE often seems to do precisely what it likes, regardless of its own rulebook, it hardly matters one way or the other. "

The whole post can be found at


And by the way I am equally tired of all the people who are writing stuff like "FIDE breached its contract with Kramnik by closing his toilet, therefore the contract is 'null and void'". Guys, that isn't how contract law works. The way contract law works is that if one party breaches the contract, the other has the right to force him/her/it to repair the breach and adhere to the provisions of the contract. The contract doesn't disappear like a soap bubble going *pop*!

For example, if you have a contract to lease an apartment for a year, and the landlord doesn't fix something, suppose you say, "Well, then, the lease is null and void and I don't have to pay any more rent!" That would be nice for the tenant, but that isn't how the courts see it! The lease only goes away if the landlord's breach is SO serious that you can't really live there, for example if you have no working toilet at all, to keep this on topic. This is called "constructive eviction".

Now, what court is going to agree that all the toilet and videotape stuff, even if they WERE breaches, are SUCH material breaches that they defeat the whole purpose of a WC match - considering that the WC match was actually concluded and that GM Kramnik actually won it??

So, Mr Kramnik do not remember whether he signed an agreement to play World Championship Tournament in Mexico, but he is well aware of all details in the contract regarding his toilets and rest areas. Coward!


1. Kramnik plays Mexico tournament - winner is WC
2. As is tradition the former WC gets to challenge the new WC in a match
3. If Kramnik or Topalov wins Mexico they play a title match as respective former or new champion
4. If somebody else wins the title he will play Kramnik in WC match.

All to be agreed before Mexico between Kramnik, Topalov and FIDE. Or simpler; as an addendum to the new FIDE match regulations.

After that this mix of tournament and match play can continue (I mean a true WC should be able to both win tournaments and matches), or if everybody agrees and sponsorship can be found we return to chess matches for the world title.

Yep, Spud, aside from the other individual sports which have managed to create a rich history and perception of championship matches as clash of titans, chess is the only one to have a champion face the best challenger.

Mixed martial arts has followed an interesting path: the initial tournaments were one night single elimination (UFC), then they developed champions based on winners of these tournaments. In such way first the fighters were first established as having accomplished someting significant (wow, he beat three guys in one night) and then that established credential was used for the champion to take on new roughly rankings-based challenger.

People still talk about who Ali beat and who beat Ali, matches involving Dempsey, Marciano, Louis, Tyson are all subject of discussion. Few could tell you who won Wimbledon each year without looking it up.

Mr. X, so you think GM Kramnik can be trusted to manage the future of the World Championship, and you might be right, but here's another way to look at it: lots of people here think that the Topalov-Danailov joint entity is the most evil and disgusting creature ever to have existed on this suffering planet. Well, if GM Topalov had made a couple of moves differently in Elista, and if the Game 5 controversy hadn't developed the way it did, then you might be sitting here with GM Topalov as "undisputed unified world champion". Would you want all the power in HIS hands then?


I would argue that if the landlord agrees he should have fixed the toilet, it is his legal responsibility to clean up all the dung that flowed out of it. (ie: if you were wrong and reverse your decision, you replay game 5)

But people who talk about legal responsibility miss a much more significant point: does world chess championship exist as a legal concept? The answer is no. FIDE championship exists. Claim to being a world champion exists. You can transfer these on a contract and have restrictions on when and how they may be transferred. But if Kramnik had after Brissago signed a contract in which he said that his match with next door neighbor in the format of best out of 5 "rock-paper-scissors" would be for the right to claim world chess championship, wouldn't that be legally binding? Yes, of course, it would be.

But would we as chess fans accept it? Of course not! The concept of "world championship" exists in our minds. That means that if Kramnik signs a contract to play in a format that we don't consider to reveal the best man, a format that we find unacceptable, even if he plays and loses, Kramnik keeps the only title that matters: the real world chess championship.

You won't be shafting Mexico. Hold the supertournament, it's fabulous. But such a tournament has absolutely nothing to do with the World Championship, I think that's what was meant.

"I'm amazed how petty and downright vicious people get when dissecting Topalov's every comment. Obviously the title meant a lot to him. What do you expect him to say after losing the title game?"

I expect him to behave in the same manner as any other professional that just lost a prestigious title, not go behaving like a ten year old, bashing the title itself! Topalov's manner in the match and interviews is just PATHETIC, not a professional, a child, go away!

A tournament under FIDE control (no more comments):

"Gastón Needleman gets his ticket to the World Cup
24.08.2005 Last week we published a story on the plight of 15-year-old Gastón Needleman, who according to Argentinian journalist Carlos Ilardo was deprived of a chance to play in the 2006 World Cup when five GMs who ganged up against him in the tiebreak stage of the Continental Championship. Now FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has given the boy a free ticket."


"Posted by: giannis
How can "closing a toilet" be the same as "playing without rooks"? Jesus, a big part of the population has been left with no brains at all..."

Well, wear a hat and it won't show. Because the answer to your question is obvious to those with brains. Closing a toilet can be like playing without rooks, if both are contractual violations. Now I know you think it's up to you, the great Giannis, to decree which parts of the contract matter, and which don't, and you naturally expect that everyone else in the world will bow to your personal judgments, rather than to what courts or contract law say. But all that proves is that you need to get out more.

"Closing the toilet" originated from very moment the arbiter let surveillance video out of his site! He has full authority to keep it away from anyone - and opposite team in particular or raise suspicion by him self if it seems to him suspicious. Danailov and Topalov should not have their hands on the video – it gave too much information – toilet issue aside.

Dimi wrote:
"I'm amazed how petty and downright vicious people get when dissecting Topalov's every comment. Obviously the title meant a lot to him. What do you expect him to say after losing the title game?"

I'm amazed how unethical the *defenses* of Topalov are. According to you, he lied petulantly, and you're scratching your head wondering why people don't like it.

I expect him to say that the world title is the biggest prize in chess and he's looking forward to another chance to win it.

Is that what you would do if you lost a big game? Say it didn't matter because you were still the best, win or lose? Maybe that's where Topalov's support comes from. It's not that people like his play, it's that he's kind of an icon to bad sports everywhere.

An arbiter's tale: 'My blood pressure rose to 220'
- wonder why if all was in accordance with rules?

CatpoWer, despite his/her nonstandard handle capitalization scheme, has come up with the most constructive idea yet: Yes, the winner in MC is the World Champion, but then he has to defend his title in a match against Kramnik (unless it IS Kramnik), and after that, for the 2009 or whatever cycle, tournaments can be used to select a challenger but the challenger has to play the WC in a match.

Now, this is all going to break down unless we get some CONSENSUS on the conditions of WC matches. What is "enough" anti-cheating security? What restrictions are going to be put on the players' movements? How do disputes over all this get resolved? By whom? Who selects those people? What happens when one player threatens to walk? It would be good if some "universally trusted" group of GMs and arbiters, under FIDE's auspices if possible, or under the ACP's, or someone else's were to get together, NOW, not in 2008, and wargame the possibilities and try and come up with some real answers.

If we don't do that, we are headed pretty inevitably for another schism somewhere down the road. People, WC chess matches are DIFFICULT. No other competitive activity* tries to do something remotely similar - two persons going at each other for three weeks or a month or more, the winner to be universally recognized as the world's best. It's not easy and it's not stable. There are structural reasons why boxing is the way it is, and they apply to chess just as strongly if not more.

* I've been told that checkers (draughts) is the other exception.

My understanding is that go matches are just as arduous, but I don't think there is a 'world championship title'. Rather, there are a few prestigious match 'titles' which are administered by non-players, like newspapers.

Here's my solution. Keep the Mexico tournament EXACTLY as it is, but invite 120 more players, have it be a 128-person knockout tournament consisting of two blitz games per round. In the case of a 1-1 tie, determine the winner by a hollering contest. In order to maintain the integrity of the final, have the remaining two players play four ten-minute games. In the case of a tie, have Kirsan pick a winner based solely on personal preference. The champion keeps his title for two weeks, and the then tournament is replayed, this time with the champion and 127 chimpanzees. Repeat as necessary.


had Topalov won in Elista, we could have kissed the traditional World Championship matches goodbye immediately. After that this topic would have had no interest in it for me. I would have just watched FIDE+TopaILOV wreck a great tradition and felt sad for it.

In my mind Kramnik was and IS the last chance to preserve something that has real value and makes chess special and known for people outside the world of chess: strong World Championship Title decided in match...one on one. Does anyone believe..I mean for real.. that 'regular' people could be interested in memorizing 8-10 players' names from a 'World Championship tournament'? I don't think so. But two big names in a head to head clash - that is something else.

If FIDE forces the Champion to participate in a 'WC tournament' then it's like a navy fleet sinking its own flagship. Knowing FIDE that's exactly what they will do! Too bad.

The Gijssen article on Chesscafe/Chessbase did not mention at all who it was that handed over Kramnik's restroom videos to Topalov's team (which is what started Toiletgate)

1) Did the Appeal Committee handed over the videos?


2) Did Gijssen handed over the videos on his own volition?

From Makropoulos' letter it would seem 1) but the wording in this regard is vague.

Mr X,

But that is the whole point. Under the traditional system, the champion can do whatever he likes. All it takes is one lunatic to get their hands on it, and your great system is thrown into chaos.

RS: Hows is that different from the current format?

Gijssen's letter is strange. He does not say anything about the Appeals Committee decision even after the match. I mean he has no opinion who is right or wrong. We need CAs who takes bold action if need be and not just go blindly by the books.

Blogmeister, I know you will be managing the site for Mexico chess event. Call it what you want, but the Chess world will not recognize the winner of the tournament as the real WC.

Kramnik will be happy to play the winner of this event.

Spud: But that is the whole point. Under the traditional system, the champion can do whatever he likes. All it takes is one lunatic to get their hands on it, and your great system is thrown into chaos.

As opposed to the chaos that the lunatic Kirsan has created. I'll take my chances with the chess players thanks...

Theodulf doesn't get the point. Gijssen should not overrule the appeal comittee gang. He could state, that the playing conditions are not met and so he can't start the game. From his perspective it should be irrelevant why this playing conditions are not met, because of appeal, because of earth quake, missing rooks or whatsoever. That's a fact Gijssen not even considered.

Gijssens reputation is now null and void forever

"Ratings are not such a good tool to tell about a player strength."
I never was agree with this idea.
I think that some improvements can be useful - first of all, small rating penalty for non-playing (maybe not on all levels). But in general the ELO rating is virtually perfect.

Of course I get your point, Ellrond. You are saying that even though the Appeals Committee said "the games will be played under these conditions," Gijssen should have said, "I will not start the clock for the game under these conditions; I do not recognize the authority of the Appeals Committee to set those conditions for this game."

Similarly, if the Supreme Court orders a prisoner to be released, the jailer can say, "I won't unlock the door of the jail cell because the legal conditions for releasing the prisoner have not been satisfied." By your reasoning.

Spud, if the World Champion doesn't behave in a resposible manner then his title of course will turn out meaningless eventually.

By the way, What has Kramnik done so badly that you are so distrusting? Not give a rematch to Kasparov? Kasparov didn't get a rematch, because there was no such clause in the contract. Kramnik introduced a candidates event Dortmund 2002 and Kasparov chose not to play. After PCA cycle in 1993-95 Kasparov introduced NOTHING credible or remotely as credible as Dortmund 2002. Shirov-Kramnik was a sad try...and then Shirov turned down the possible match and ended with a bone in his hand. Kasparov then hand picked Kramnik to play, because KASPAROV was LONG OVERDUE to play a match. Kasparov didn't hand pick Kramnik, because he thought "I'll do Vlad a favour" - he chose Kramnik, because he knew that match MIGHT attract money and he himself NEEDED the match. Too bad he lost, but Kramnik didn't/doesn't owe him anything. Kramnik won the title in 2000, defended the title successfully in a tough match against a credible opponent 2004 and again 2006. To me he seems more than WORTHY of the great title he has in his possession.

Would I trust FIDE more than Kramnik? No, indeed I would not. And please if someone can show me ANYTHING that points out to the fact FIDE with Kirsan is more trustworthy to decide what is done with The World Championship Title, please let me know. (And i won't be holding breath until then.)I think the chances for that are between slim and none... and Slim may have just left the town recently...


Above link to Nigel Short's last article in the Guardian.

Read the last sentence of the article.

"Unfortunately, this is my last column for the Guardian. I have very much enjoyed writing here."

The first word "unfortunately" says to me that he was fired.

I really enjoyed reading Nigel's column. He has a certain way with words and humor. Maybe someone else will pick him up.

Was Short really fired?

If so, there is something ironic in the fact that the moment Short wrote "At a stroke, the 13-year schism was healed", he, a person who started the schism, was fired.

Or maybe Short quit? Perhaps unified chess world isn't fun for him to play in/ write about.

I just want to see us be able to build something instead of fighting for scraps of spoiled meat. 12 (11...) game matches in Elista? Matches in Brissago with a qualifier base of a dozen elite players instead of hundreds around the world? London with no qualifier at all, unless you count the one Shirov won and didn't get paid for and that wasn't honored? That's what has happened to the classical match tradition.

-- Posted by: Mig at October 18, 2006 15:07

You hit the nail right on the head, Mig.

Someone speculated that this might be fall-out from the Kamsky spat. I can't believe that the Guardian would care one way or the other (and Short's hardly the shrinking violet type to retreat and lick his wounds). Moreover, the Guardian has quite a commitment to covering chess -- Barden, Speelman and Short all with columns -- so I can't imagine that they suddenly decided that they couldn't "afford" Short. Strange indeed...

I think Mig should advise Mexico City to have a good talk with Kirsan. There is still plenty of time until the MC tournament next year.

Mexico City's problem is with Kirsan not with Kramnik.

In fact MC signed up well before the Topalov Kramnik match was announced. and even then, there was talk about a possible match. Mexico City was well aware since before they signed the contract that there might be problems.

And now according to what is written here, it seems like Mexico City has done nothing to reduce its risks. It wants to cry now that it does not like the way things are progressing. But everything that is happening could have been discussed before signing the contract.

It was irresponsible of Mexico City to contract for tee shirts before they knew if the tournament would have what they hoped for. well it will not have what they hoped for. they should not pass the risk onto the chess fans.

If Mexico City is really a chess fan. If Mexico City is really interested in helping chess, then they will have to favor the match championships. and will embrace that Mexico City will be a Candidates final.

Now that that has been decided they can go out and order some tee shirts. plenty of time. what is the big rush.

When big business makes decisions they make many decisions that cost them 10 of thousands of dollars all the time. they lose here and there as a matter of course. it is normal in business to take losses. dont worry. all those businesses will do just fine.

a business knows that when they score a winner they score big, and all the little losses are minor and well taken care of.

I hope Kramnik does not cooperate with Kirsan. I hope and expect that he is going to make decisons that are the best he can figure out for the sake of the title survival. We came very close to losing the title to Kirsan. Lets not lose it now.

Ultimately the Champion "owns" the title. FIDE has tried to steal it. But it now seems obvious that the Champion is the person who has the title.

Ask yourself why did Kirsan being involved in negotiations between Kramnik and Topalov to unify the title run out without bids suddenly and sign a contract with Mexico City? He wants desperately to destroy the strong champion. Don't play into Kirsan's hands.

Kirsan loved Topalov because Topalov was a very weak champion. He deferred everything to Kirsan the same way as he defers everything to Danailov.

The problem is that the weak champion showed his weakness in a match with a strong champion.

Now is the time to stand firm against Kirsan and all attempts to corrupt the title.

I am really starting to hate following top level chess. Mig seems to be the only one with a thimble full of common sense. Many of you on here are complete idiots.

-- Posted by: Todd at October 18, 2006 16:56 \

Mig -is- the only one with common sense.

It's like Mig is a successful business man who knows how the real world works while the others are trust fund kids who think that money and sponsorship just materialize out of thin air.

Happy McMagic sponsoring a match in Fantasyland.
LOL! That wa too funny and exactly what Todd is talking about.

... If Kramnik signed a contract saying the winner of Elista must play in the 2007 World Championship Tournament in Mexico City, and then starts spouting off this rubbish about..."I think Toppy the player ***deserves*** to play in the tournament for the right to play me in a match." -- then I say, Kramnik, you are a liar. Your word is nothing. Don't say one word about Danilov. It is perposterous to me that Kramnik could get a free shot at the title TWICE!!! (2000 and 2006) Then get "principles" about others needing to qualify.

-- Posted by: Todd at October 18, 2006 16:56

One of the reasons why I have always hated Kramnik.

I have learned that Topalov and Kramnik have signed identical contracts with FIDE for the Elista match.

That's why Topa knows about the contractual obligation of the winner to play in Mexico. Kramnik is making a joke of himself when saying that he doesn't remember what he signed...

-- Posted by: Giannis at October 18, 2006 17:44

Kramnik probably lied. Do you -really- believe that Kramnik would sign that contract not knowing what his future obligations were???

People seem to be jumping to a lot of conclusions about what Kramnik is going to do with respect to Mexico. Chesscafe published an interview with him over the weekend where he seems to indicate he'll play in Mexico if he is contractually obligated, he will try to preserve match play determination of the world champion, and that the will ultimately go along with whatever FIDE decides (re tournaments v. matches). The relevant quote:

MS: Are you ready to defend the title in Mexico in 2007?

VK: Presently I am not ready to answer this question. I have to study the match contract and analyze the current situation. Until now all my thoughts were pinned on the match. I need some time to recover, then I will examine the contract to determine my rights and obligations and handle certain negotiations. I should be able to answer your question more definitively in a couple of weeks.

However, my personal view is that the institution of world championship matches should be preserved. This is an old tradition. A majority of chess fans only know about chess because of these matches. This is the main engine of chess development! From this match we can see that the response is huge. Abandoning such competitions is simply impractical. This is my opinion, although from what I read on the Internet, it seems that most chess fans agree. I hope the matches will be preserved, but the final decision is out of my expertise. Whatever decision is taken, I’ll obey it and play.

It seems to me we'd be much better off waiting a couple weeks to see what Kramnik is doing rather than freaking out all over the place based on our assumptions of what he will do. Is there any point in attacking Kramnik's moral character before he even does anything? Then again, where would the internet be if people didn't flip out at the drop of a hat?

Regarding Nigel Short and the Guardian, it is well known that the editor-in-chief is Rustam Kamsky.

Todd, gmnotyet, what on EARTH are you talking about?!

If you really can't find in your heart any respect for Kramnik's saying, after everything that's happened, that Topalov the chess player deserves a place in Mexico, then it seems clear that you have passed beyond reason on the matter. The rest of your post makes no sense whatsoever: the words 'fatuous series of non-sequiturs' hardly begin to describe it.

Gijssen's article is perfectly fair and interesting both in what it does and doesn't say. He's certainly right too that Seirawan's article was a disgrace and that he ought to apologise for it if he hasn't already.

What Gijssen does say that is new is that he was waiting for Ilyumzhinov's letter before starting game five. So in effect the President's powers under 3.23.1 WERE called into play and the President decided not to use them to overrule the Appeals Committee. This was exactly what I thought Gijssen should have done, and now it seems that he did. As far as I know, the existence of this letter has not previously been made public.

He also says that he only ever referred to two documents. I suspect that he has not even seen the contract. Why should he?

Macropoulos said that he/the AC gave the tapes to Topalov's gang. Gijssen, interestingly, doesn't say when he found this out, or what he did about it, or whether it carried on after the trouble. I imagine he would have said if he'd approved it.

It's always a tricky decision whether to resign or not when you're made an unwitting party to this sort of thing. I wouldn't criticise him for not doing so. If he allowed it to go on after he'd found about it, there would be more grounds for criticism - much more.

I still think a different arbiter would have had more chance of avoiding the trouble - Gijssen is a rules-are-rules man from what I can tell (what we in the law call a law man, rather than a merits man). That's not necessarily bad, but it wasn't what this situation required.

In reply to various people: the materiality of a breach of contract is strongly affected by whether it is wilful. Here the Appeals Committee had clearly exceeded its powers (or at least I've heard no plausible reason why they could possibly have accepted this protest out of time), and had also shown themselves biased by the tapes business. If in addition they had authorised a breach of contract (the shared loo), maintained that they were entitled to do so when they were not and refused to correct the breach, and also refused to resign when their bias was pointed out to them, I find it very difficult to imagine a court not concluding that the breach was material. (Of course this contains a number of assumptions in Kramnik's favour, but unless one makes those we don't get to considering whether the breach is material). Characterising the breach as 'a locked toilet' is childish: it was also the failure by FIDE to provide an unbiased appeals committee. One could hardly have a more fundamental breach of the organiser's contractual responsibilities.

Mr. Gijssen writes that he postponed the start of the game because he was waiting for the letter from the FIDE President (which was addressed to V. Kramnik, I assume, not to Mr. Gijssen). He goes on to quote Article 3.3 of the Match Regulations: "No postponement of any game shall be allowed except with permission of the FIDE President." Mr. Gijssen doesn't say if he received that permission from the FIDE President before postponing the match while waiting for the President's letter nor does he say he ever inquired directly of Mr. Ilyumzhinov's for permission to postpone the game. Would that not have been a reasonable course of action?

>Kramnik probably lied. Do you -really- believe that Kramnik would sign that contract not knowing what his future obligations were???

Obviously he knew well what he signed and then indeed he lied about at the press conference.

Form this one can conclude that he decided not to participate but he wanted to be able to give first his reasons and to make this "move" more smoothly and without being stalemated with " but you did sign a contract didn't you ?"...question to which there is no good answer...

If Kramnik signed a contract stating that he would play in Mexico City, that is what he will do. He has never been the one to break a contract that was agreed upon. Personally, my impression is that there will be changes in the World Championship cycle, but those changes will start with the next cycle and will be negotiated amicably between the champion and FIDE. After suffering the problems incurred by both lineages after the split (specifically after Intel withdrew support from the PCA), neither side has interest in re-introducing a schism.

Some excerpts from an interesting and very provocative interview in Russain with Faik Gasanov and Mair Mamedov, vice-presidents of Azerbajan Chess Federation. Gasanov is also known as a memeber of the renewed Appeals Committee.
Gasanov: I hope the match will force the consolidation, and drive the organization of the unified Championship under FIDE umbrella, but it is too early to say for sure. What if some other organization organizes an alternative Championship? There are too many hidden trends around...
Danailov had to address his appeal on Kramnik's behavior to the Chief Arbiter initially, and only if it was denied, then he should address it to the Appeals Committee.
FIDE made a big mistake when the Presidential Board excluded the loser from the WC for 2 years. In the past ex-Champions participated in the WC cycle from Candidates stage. And it is absurd to deprive Topalov, the rating No.1, from right to fight for the title.
I am almost sure Kramnik will announce that Mexico is considered by him as a Candidates tournament to play with him.
I do not think FIDE could apply any sanctions to Kramnik (if he ignores Mexico). The era of Kramnik's and Russian's dictate begins.
From my point of view as a chess fan, Kramnik became Champion not OTB, but in the rest area, where he came too frequently. I am positive we wlll see the documental proof of this.
I can't understand: when Topalov is accused and is forced to do things, not noted in contract and in other documents, he plays. When Kramnik is asked to show rest area video tapes, he feels insulted. But what is the purpose of tapes? To be played when needed! May be, Kramnik's chess understanding is at ELO level of 3 or 4 digits, but he has shown his sportsmanship level. And we all will suffer from his Championship.

Mamedov: May be, Topalov's level of play did not deserve a win, but don't forget, how he began to play! He was like a winded horse, he trusted nobody and into nothing. He was playing fast, because he did not want Kramnik to visit his rest area. And this was his mistake. He is not Anand, fast play is not his style.
Also, I have a feeling, that when the score became 3-2 to Kramnik's advantage, when the match was almost broken down, Vladimir was persuaded to continue with some heavy arguments. May be, they agreed to play re-match.

Mr X and al,

As I see it, the only chance of a stable world chamionship is through FIDE. Asking FIDE to disrupt the cycle just to accommodate Kramnik's demands just makes things harder.

Lets suppose that by some miracle that FIDE manage to set up a cycle which is exactly how it was 1948-1993. How long before we get another Fischer? Let's face it, top chess players aren't exactly the most stable bunch. If the champion has a tantrum, the world championship is thrown into chaos again.

Kirsan may well turn it into a circus after Mexico. But even if he does, it will be a lot easier to start again from scratch than if there is a champion making unreasonable demands.

One more thing. I love the way everyone portrays Kramnik as some kind of hero for preserving the match tradition. Let's see, preserving the match tradition benefits ..... Vladimir Kramnik. He didn't seem too interested in the match tradition when he played in the 1999 FIDE KO (before he beat Kasparov). Incidentally he didn't play the 1997 KO because the FIDE champ (Karpov) was seeded into the final!

"...Kramnik became Champion not OTB, but in the rest area, where he came too frequently."

If this is what Kramnik was doing in the rest area, he should definitely not want that revealed to the world! I have a hard time seeing how that could help his play, though.

What is interesting, is how biased is Mr. Gasanov. It is clear (as most of us noted at that time) that even the new Appeals Committee can't be considered as objectime.
He believes there is a documental proof Kramnik was cheating! Not mentioning his other statements.
And they both are very upset the match Topalov-Rajabod broke down. This is for sure.

What is wrong with having a new Fischer? FIDE had shown it can handle it with honor, they announced the forfeit, and the story ends.
But FIDE have to be a really powerfull and influential force to be able to manage hundreds of highly individualistic, selfish, and greedy males with mental anomalies ;-)

"Gasanov is also known as a member of the renewed Appeals Committee."

Gasanov: "From my point of view as a chess fan, Kramnik became Champion not OTB, but in the rest area."

This is shocking, albeit not surprising if true. How can a "trusted" person in such a "neutral" position come up with this nonsense?

Trust FIDE with the unified title? Yeah right.

Hopefully Zhukov is putting heavy pressure on Kirsan because that could actually work and make things more sensible at FIDE. Not saying that it is necessarily a positive thing, but rather a lesser evil if you wish. Kirsan, as the president of Kalmykia, is dependant on Kreml's support. If Zhukov firmly puts Kirsan in his place (there is some hint in Zhukov's comments on the match tradition) I don't see how it would make things worse. Things are very bad as it is. If there hadn't been 20+ years of poor adminstration by Campomanes and Kirsan bet there would be more sponsorship money in chess for these 2650-2800's to share between themselves. Think we all should agree on that at least. It's one point always to consider when comparing evils to lesser evils. No solution is going to fix things in one go.

Mig, have you talked to Garry about Kramnik's victory in Elista? What are his thoughts on the match and the results? And does he think Kramnik should play in Mexico?

I am also surprised by the sudden change of allegiance from match to tournament. Has Kirsan Illusionov not disillusioned too many for too long? Isn't Gelfand most relevantly sueing FIDE because of Kirsan illusions? The illusions are going to continue, stay tuned...

Kasparov expressed some thoughts on the match, Oct. 8, when interviewed by David Remnik of "The New Yorker."

On the Topalov-Kramnik fiasco, Garry was surprisingly neutral. He couldn't resist cracking a few jokes such as his quip "Out of the first five games, the fifth was the most exciting," or when he mused that getting the details of the bathroom dispute in the papers might result in much needed corporate sponsorship for chess- from a plumbing company. Kasparov criticized Kramnik for not playing the 5th round game. Korchnoi and Karpov on the other hand, claim on chessbase that they'd go further than Kramnik, and skip out on the whole match.

Kasparov praised organizers for creating a "glass wall" that separated Topalov and Kramnik from trainers and press. He emphasized that such elite players would not need a long computer generated variation to cheat. A simple hand or facial signal from a trainer(via a computer), to "attack", or to "go for it", could easily tip the match decisively.

Kasparov described the quality of play during the first half of the match as "lousy," but getting better. At the time of the New Yorker talk, the score was 5:4 in Topalov's favor and Kasparov predicted a dominating victory for the aggressive Bulgarian.

Been talking about it a lot with Garry, but he's keeping most of his powder dry for his next NIC column, which I already have three pages of notes for. Argh.

He doesn't think Kramnik will play in Mexico and is taking all bets on that. As for "should," he thinks Kramnik made that irrelevant when he agreed to play against Topalov for the FIDE title. I don't want to quote him, but it's the gist of "if he didn't want to be FIDE champion and play in FIDE events, what the hell was he doing in Elista?"

I was sitting in the back row with Garry's wife at the New Yorker event. I have the audio of the whole thing recorded but the quality is so-so. If I can normalize it I'll put it up in MP3. Lots of the usual Fischer and Deep Blue stuff at the start. The Topalov-Kramnik match didn't come until the very end when Pascal Charbonneau asked the last question! I haven't listened to whole recording yet, don't remember any predictions. (Meanwhile *I* predicted a drawn match! Nyah.)

Related to Zhukov applying pressure: according to the translations in this forum right here, he used the word "criminal" in the Moscow post-match press conference. I don't believe myself that this is the right emphasis, but whatever the right emphasis might be, the word that Zhukov used has a strong enough emphasis for chessbase to elide altogether (the translation of the Moscow post-match press conference from veselintopalov.net that chessbase used elided Zhukov's remark altogether)

Kramnik doesn't want a round robin for his championship because Kramnik is a better "heads up" player. I think Kramnik worries that Topalov and Anand will take all the chips of the weaker players. For Kramnik, building up chips is slow and steady as he's more of a tight player. haha I've been playing too much poker.

It'd be interesting to read a Kasparov comparative analysis of the quality of play in the last three WCC matches: Kramnik's, Topalov's, Leko's, and his own.

Despite what Mark Crowther wrote, my judgment is that...

The 1948 FIDE tournament that crowned Botvinnik as the new World Chess Champion is Not a precedent for what Kirsan tried with San Luis 2005, nor for what Kirsan is about to try again with Mexico 2007.

The big difference is: Alekhine was dead, Kramnik is still alive.

Gene Milener

Another Kirsan illusion:

1) Kirsan apparently made clear that Kramnik is obliged to play in Mexico and Topalov is out

2) Kirsan apparently made clear that Topalov has the right for a rematch with Kramnik

1) and 2) can clearly contradict each other in a number of ways.

For example, Topalov wins the rematch in March 2007 and 1) is clearly wrong.

Another example, Anand wins Mexico and 2) is clearly wrong.

This kind of Kirsan chaos has been going on for 11 years now! Time to support Kramnik with his match cycle! Down with Kirsan! Go Kramnik!

Wow, Kramnik has a match cycle!? Where is it, zero, tell us!

There is no match cycle! If professional chess is to have anything stable in terms of a championship cycle, it has to go through FIDE. Kramnik might be able to attract sponsors, but only an organization can manage the hurdles needed for the selection of a challenger or challengers.

My understanding is that Bessel will be put in charge of such things soon, and the sooner, the better. Those who don't want to deal with Kirsan might have an easier conscience negotiating with Bessel, and I have a hard time believing that Bessel would have allowed such tomfoolery as we saw in Elista. Maybe chess will again be able to find sponsors once said sponsors know that a competent man is at the helm.

Dortmund was the precedence, don't sabotage the follow ups, Mig!

On a more serious note, don't you really see from the above examples how Kirsan is already f** up your beloved Mexico? He will come up with many many more ways to f** up! Guaranteed, since 11 years!

How bad could Kramnik cycle be? Certainly not worse than that!

Remember Karpov's pre-election words before he got muzzled: "Even a dickhead would do a better job than Kirsan!"

Forget about Bessel Kok working for Kirsan, the two are incompatible like fire and water.

If anything, Bessel Kok would work for Kramnik like soul mates on the match cycle.

"If he didn't want to be FIDE champion and play in FIDE events, why did he play in Elista?"

Garry gets five points for that. Kramnik went to a third-rate burger joint and now complains about getting a third-rate burger.

Still, that's no reason not to try to improve the restaurant.

Well, Kirsan has tried to improve the restaurant for 11 years now but last he got was a toilet. Drawing the line is long long overdue

Go, Kramnik, go! Turn your fresh leaf for the good of chess!

Kasparov should obviously tone it down with bloopers like 'If he didn't want to be FIDE Champion and play FIDE events, why did he play in Elista?'

Err... Maybe Kasparov has forgotten that HE created the foundation for this two title crap. HE failed to bring the titles together. I admit Kaspy wasn't very interested in the unification process before he was beaten by Kramnik in 2000. But after that HE even agreed to be part of the FIDE final match as 'the highest rated player'...hpphh....Can that be called opportunism... or what? I think Garry should come down from his high horse and stop talking silly. Kramnik wanted to bring the titles together so there would be one champion - so he fixed what Garry broke 1993.

Obviously Kramnik wanted also more weight for his title, the unified title. And now he's got that. I think he might be in a position good enough to negotiate with FIDE and save the WC match tradition AND THE UNIFICATION that took place. All in all Garry sounds jealous of the fact the title is 'unified' and he was outside looking in when it happened and that The Man that accomplished that is the same guy that brought him down from Chess Olympus.

Also I would like to point out that in chess the championship has been and should be a match. In the past FIDE created a system in order to find a CHALLENGER for the title. So if one wants to the WC match and the system to find the challenger can be seen as two seprate issues. This viewpoint makes it irrelevant to speak about 'seeding the WC in a final'. The question should rather be something like 'how can the system to find a credible challenger be made fair?' Of course we can also return to the 'good ole days' and accept that the Champion plays whomever he chooses and that's that...

What are all these dark musings from these Azeri wierdoes about what Kramnik was doing in the toilet and that he did not win OTB?? They have "documental proof" [sic] What? A signed confession from Kram that he was analysing on his little wooden analysis board while sitting on the loo? Or maybe a la Botvinnik he was consulting his pocket notebook in the toilet for his openings? Or perhaps its that Kramnik is Russian and you are still bitter about all those years under the russian yolk. Don't worry, now your country is run by a mafia family from Nakichivan - sorry I mean democratically elected president.

Are the titles really "unified" now, or are they just coincidentally held by the same person?
In my view Kramnik is both traditional WC and FIDE WC.

Traditional WC's lose their title in a match, or they die(Alekhine), or they are stripped of their title if they refuse to defend it(Fischer).

FIDE WC can apparently lose their title in a tournament or in a match, or in some other way that FIDE make up as they go along.

So if Kramnik participates in the Mexico tournament, and loses, he will no longer be the FIDE WC, and I will have to only recognize him as the traditional WC. Thus the WC-titles will be split again.

In that case, a new re-unification MATCH between the winner of Mexico and Kramnik would be a good idea.

Wouldn't that be a sensible way to look at the things? Then the Mexico organizers aren't getting screwed. They didn't pay for an event deciding the unified WC in the first place - they payed for an event deciding the FIDE WC. They will get just that.

Ah, so making a mistake, and Kasparov has admitted that the 1993 breakaway was "probably the worst mistake of my career," means you can never speak on a topic for the rest of your life? No, don't think so. If anyone knows the damage the schism has done it's the person who went from regular matches for millions of dollars to scrounging around looking for funding. Btw, it was Ilyumzhinov's FIDE that wasn't interested in unification, other than saying Kasparov could play in the KO events. Before those started there was even a plan to play another Kasparov-Karpov match to unify but it got hung up on things like draw odds.

Instead of whining about Kasparov's actions in 1993, how about answering the question? What was Kramnik doing in Elista? If Kramnik doesn't play in Mexico he hasn't unified anything other than 500K with his bank account. Either that or you don't understand the concept of unification. Champion + FIDE + cycle. Swooping in to beat Topalov in a match and then telling FIDE to sod off is not unification, it's that opportunism you're talking about. Especially if he'll be breaking a contract.

I'm still waiting for all you nihilist geniuses to fund a long match final. While you're at it, explain to the sponsor and players in Mexico City why their event is now meaningless, and how all of that makes Elista unification.

Unless you have something better to actually, y'know, DO, other than fantasize about screwing sponsors and all the players except for one, and complaining about how things aren't the way they used to be 20 years ago (no, really?), how about planning how best to work with what we've already got. The world wouldn't end if Kramnik finished 3rd in Mexico City. Really. But if we can get some stability behind a united title we might be able to stop having matches in back alleys. This tournament format isn't set in stone for all eternity. You all seem ready to agree that Ilyumzhinov is an inconsistent goofball. He's going to do whatever sells, and/or whatever political forces pressure him into. (The Elista match falls into the latter category.) With Zhukov on his case matches are looking much more likely.

We haven't been able to sell matches for years. No, I don't conside Dortmund-Brissago anything more than a stop-gap lesser evil. No cycle, shoddy qualifier missing four of the top players (because of no unification), and with zero media attention. To the real die-hards none of these things matter, apparently, but democracy and rigor in pursuit of the title are important.

Either deal with what we have and plan for the future or stop calling it unification. If there is some way to make everyone happy (Mexico City sponsors, the other seven qualifiers, the match tradition), great. But I haven't seen anything that remotely comes close to that. Classicists didn't call the KO winners world champions either, and it wasn't just because Kasparov was still playing. we didn't considere Topalov the 15th champion any more than we considered Karpov WCh in 1996. None of this is a good reason to start screwing sponsors and players.

Can someone explain to me why it shouldn't be possible to get money and sponsors for traditionell matches? It was possible in the past, so why not now?
Does not make sense to me.

It's a bit exaggerated to call the Mexico tournament "meaningless" if it serves to determine the next challenger of the world champion. It will still be a fantastic tournament and create a lot of interest, even more so if Topalov is able to participate in it.

I do not understand Mig's weird use of the word "nihilism" in sentences like

"I'm still waiting for all you nihilist geniuses to fund a long match final.".

Last time I checked, nihilism was the threat of everything valuable losing their value. If anything, it is the proponents of matches who are worried about something valuable losing its value. They(we) are worried that the highly valued lineage from Steinitz to Kramnik will be broken and replaced with the line of FIDE WC's.

They don't hold that nothing has any value - they hold that the classical wc title HAS value. Thus they are not nihilists in any sensible meaning of that word. Quite the contrary.

One theory is that matches are about drama and personality and tension. When you can't even agree if the winner is the "real" world champion, it loses most of the drama and much of the tension.

It's just two guys. If one of them battled his way up through a world's worth of other challengers to prove himself The One True Challenger that adds a lot too. I.e. if it's an obvious #1 vs #2 showdown, not bad. But a lack of unification and a lack of cycle are serious blows. Since the late 90's most of the world hasn't known - and therefore hasn't cared, who the world champion is. It had simply faded out of the public eye by 98. Kasparov-Anand got good press and money. Kasparov-Kramnik was dubiously sponsored and got attention thanks to its location and the PR staff. It is remembered as getting more because of the way interest perked up when Kasparov was close to losing, and then (relatively) exploded when he lost.

Tournaments are simply more dynamic and more fun; you have many stories to sell. Matches with a unified title and a real cycle can be a good sell, I still believe, but we don't know that yet.

Severin, you already sold the product. Signed, sealed, delivered. If it were so easy to find funding for candidates events and matches we'd be having them. We can blame a lazy FIDE for lack of salesmanship, but the millions for San Luis and Mexico are real.

"Btw, it was Ilyumzhinov's FIDE that wasn't interested in unification other than saying that Kasparov could play in the KO events. Before those got started there was even a plan to play another Kasparov-Karpov match to unify but it got hung up on things like draw odds."

"In the FIDE general assembly of 1995 in Paris it all came down to not granting me 12-12 draw odds in a unification match." -- Kasparov Chessbase interview. 8.4.02

Kasparov bolted. Karpov defeated Timman in their 24-game match, and became, in 1993, the FIDE champion.

The 1995 Kasparov-Karpov reunification match did not come off because:
--FIDE would not compromise its 40-year tradition by giving draw odds to the FIDE wcc CHALLENGER
--Kasparov would not compromise and give up draw odds in a 24-game match against a 44-year-old man whom he'd bested in four previous encounters.

But by what logic does this demonstrate that FIDE wasn't interested in reunification?

You are right, Lars, Mig has taken to insulting many of us as if we are morons who have no realistic take on the way the world works. I have long liked Mig and generally believed the same as he on most things, but I am downright saddened to see the way he is treating us here. We are not stupid nihilists. As a diplomat I am well aware of the need for compromise under most circumstances, but there are times to take a stand. The result of doing Mexico the way Mig wants is that you will get a 'world champion' who will not be world champion in the eyes of the vast majority of chess players. He will be a sad, meaningless joke.

Mig keeps going on about there being no funding for matches, and that is plain wrong. We have not seen anyone with any sense actually attempt to secure funding for a match when there is a real cycle in place. Yes, it may have been more difficult when Kasparov was trying to get funding when there was no cycle. But this situation is different. All FIDE has to do is institute the qualification tournament with match cycle and I guarantee you will be able to get funding, especially if you put someone like Kok in charge of securing it. I would be willing to bet that Mexico itself would be happy to fund both the candidates tournament and the match (especially if FIDE helps with the funding in order to mitigate Mexico's situation).

It should tell you something, Mig, when the only people on your side in the dispute or the trolls. In the end it will not matter one whit whether Mexico gets its 'championship' tournament if the end result is a meaningless 'champion'. I believe that the Mexican organizers would be very happy to hold a true world championship match, if only someone bothers to negotiate this with them.

Read what you quoted again, or for the first time, and all will be revealed. Especially the part that says "Ilyumzhinov's FIDE." It might help if you knew when Ilyumzhinov took over FIDE and when the KO's started. A working knowledge of the definition of the word "before" will also come in handy.

Sarcasm aside for a moment, Kasparov and Karpov almost played a unification match outside of both FIDE and the PCA in 1996. It was Campomanes who held out the possibility of unification. Ilyumzhinov quickly introduced the KO idea and invited both Kasparov and Karpov. They both declined. And though the first KO was postponed to 1997 (and Karpov wrangled the final match), unification was not on Ilyumzhinov's mind.

I seriously doubt there would have been a unification match even had they both agreed on no draw odds. That was the first excuse, basically. FIDE's leadership wasn't exactly standing on tradition at that point. Various FIDE factions had been trying to block a unification match for many months in many ways. Meanwhile Kasparov was riding high with the PCA and Intel and saw no reason to give an inch. (Although he did say, in that same interview with me you are quoting, he didn't insist on draw odds against Kamsky should he have won.)

Kirstan didn't start taking unification seriously until he started running out of money and thought that Kok and Kasparov might open up some revenue. No one was paying for the KO's so it was time to bail out. Viola, Prague.

"Although he did say, in that same interview with me you are quoting, he didn't insist on draw odds against Kamsky should he have won." - Mig.

To me this puts Kasparov in a very bad light. Actually this reminds me of the unfairness Alekhine treated Capablanca with after winning the title 1927: The match prerequisites were completely different for Capa than anyone else - and not in a good way.

So Kasparov didn't really want a unification match with the FIDE's representative ie *Champion', but against Karpov or Kamsky. Taking this kind of attitude in negotiations is unbearable: I agree to this, but only if that guy wins. In case the other guy comes on top, I will not give in here and in addition will demand this and this... (Clearly Kaspy was more confident (and rightfully so I think) winning against Kamsky.)

In retrospect it must be said that even the tiebreak nonsense was the better way to use in a Unification Match than draw odds to any of the Champs. After all it is hard to unify anything if the other party has to admit itself to be weaker already in the negotiations before the match.

Bessel Kok certainly knows something about funding and, having followed his campaign for the FIDE presidency, I don't remember him being that pessimistic, Mig.
This "either the Mexico is the absolute world championship or we are doomed" scenario is also a bit exaggerated. Somebody should tell the Mexicans about Zurich 1953. People still talk about that tournament.
After Curaçao 1962 the idea of a Candidates' Tournament had to be abandoned in favour of matches, for obvious reasons, but with the demise of the Soviet Union these reasons are no longer valid.
Mexico 2007 could become a memorable event by reviving this great tradition. And I personally wouldn't mind if the winner is called "Tournament World Champion".

knight_tour, I'm glad you have all that funding locked up, great job. It's just a shame we can't pay the bills with phrases like "I'm sure" and "I'd be willing to bet." Kramnik's manager spent two years putting Leko and Kramnik into the literal and figurative wildnerness of Brissago. Match sponsorship?

I'm only insulting people who think throwing away a sponsored championship event is a good idea. You have to build trust to be taken seriously and trying to switch an event many months after the contracts have been signed is horrible. If money for a match is lined up (you have that covered, we see) and the other 7 Mexico players agree (they qualified legitimately for a world championship event, by the way) and the Mexico City sponsors and organizers agree, then great!

I'd love a match. I complained endlessly when FIDE jiggered the rules and changed from a match to a tournament for the 2007 championship and I've got the links to prove it. My entire point is that Mexico has already been organized and that just wishing won't make it into something else. My secondary point is that hoping Kramnik doesn't play is self-destructive. People are so happy we have a unified champion they forget that for the past ten years it's been hell sponsoring classical championship matches, unification matches, and just about anything else.

But, you say, those bad things don't have to happen. If I understand it correctly, the utopian view is that 1a) FIDE and 1b) Mexico's players and 1c) organizers agree to downgrade their event to a candidates tournament. 2) Millions of additional monies (unless the players also get a huge pay cut) appear to fund a match between the Mexico winner and Kramnik.

And 3) if either of those things don't happen, Kramnik shouldn't play in Mexico anyway and reopen the schism in order to preserve what has become an ailing, underfunded, non-cycle classical tradition of ever-shorter matches. Next time maybe it will be 8 or 10 games with rapid tiebreaks because that's all there's money for. Sorry, I'm not buying it. I'd love for 1 and 2 to happen, but I'm not willing to embrace 3. Don't fall so much in love with the fantasy of 1+2 that you're blinded by the painful reality of 3.

I have been following the debates in Mig's site with great interest. Here is my take on the issue of matches v. tournaments and the line-up/status of the Mexico tournament. The first is an issue of principle for chess as a sport: should the title of World Champion be decided in matches or in tournaments? The second is a practical issue with several parameters.

1. Match or tournament?: The dilemma is difficult because it is not immediately clear what is the proper criterion for choosing one or the other solution. Mig suggests that the proper criterion is sponsor attractiveness. This is surely important, especially in the light of recent shortage in sustained funding for top-level events. Also, Mig is right to note that although WC finals have managed to find funding in one way or another through the years, it has been very hard to find sponsors for Candidates' matches, without which one cannot speak of a WC cycle at all.

The main argument against Mig's position has been thought to be tradition: we have a long and illustrious tradition of WC titles being decided in matches and a long line of champions from Steinitz to Kramnik. Switching to a tournament format will cut us off from this tradition and should therefore be resisted.

The difficulty with this argument is that no tradition justifies itself. We need to have good reasons for sustaining it or else we should not be afraid of trying something new. Mig and others have urged that current circumstances (including funding constraints) require a different approach to the WC cycle, if our sport is going to survive at the top-level.

I think that Mig's position misses something essential about championship chess, something that constitutes the real argument in favour of keeping WC matches as the format for the final.

Our sport is essentially a battle of wits and nerves. It is also a very individual sport, in which team-play finds no real application. The aim is always to dominate over an opponent. Moreover, all of us take pride or shame in our individual score against our opponents ("I'm plus three" etc.) as this develops over time. We do that because we are eager to find who is the better player of the two. We do not count the outcome of a single game, or even a couple of games, as decisive of that question. We think that the question can only be decided through (or in the light of) a long stretch of encounters, which will test each player's all-round knowledge of the game and psychological qualities.

Those who want to preserve the match format for the WC title are not motivated simply by a sense of tradition. They are motivated by the question "who is the best player?". Crucially, they think that this question cannot plausibly be regarded as settled by the result of a double round-robin tournament, which depends quite a lot on how the performance of the weakest players of the bunch. Given the nature of chess as a game of individual domination, being the best means being better than the previous holder of the title and that is something that can only be settled in a match. I find this argument compelling.

To sum up: I think the real issue between those who prefer matches and those who prefer tournaments is whether the question "who is the better chess player?" is still relevant in today's world. I strongly believe that it is and that if the argument is presented in its right light to sponsors, finding problems will ease over time. True, this needs to be tested. But the point is to agree on what the right 'sales pitch' for WC matches should look like. If the quest for the best player resonates with us, why couldn't it resonate with sponsors as well?

2. What is Mexico for?: I have just a few words on this. I agree with Mig that commitments made should be honoured. At the same time, I think that the source of the problem is FIDE's failure to appreciate the need for WC match-play. So here is a plan of action:

All the interested parties should open negotiations on the question of principle. FIDE should move from its insistence on awarding the title of WC to the winner of a tournament. Mexico should appreciate that modifying the agreed status of the tournament from WC title tournament to WC Candidates' tournament does not detract seriously from its lustre. In turn, the organizers should be allowed to reconsider the amount and distribution of the prize fund. Qualified participants should appreciate the argument of principle in favour of match-play and agree to Mexico as a Candidates' Final. In turn, they should be reasonably compensated by FIDE for any reduction in the Mexico prize fund.

Many participants in the debate (not least Mig) have anticipated how the organizers and other parties will react to the new situation. I have no priliveged access into the parties' minds. I prefer to think that if the case is presented well enough, and parties with adverse expectations are reasonably compensated, progress is possible.

Mr X, Kasparov simply wasn't going to play a sixth match with Karpov as challenger after repeatedly beating him. It was purely personal.

I agree that there might be funding out there for a match, especially for a unified title and with professional organizers. Great, let's work on that next time. How many sponsors are going to listen after you screw Mexico with a bait and switch? You can't have a serious discussion if all your sentences need to end with "...if it rained money in buckets."

Who knows, maybe someone WILL show up with enough money to make that happen, enough to bribe the players into being happy with a demotion and to bribe the organizers the same way. I believe, in fact I'd be willing to bet, the knight_tour has that person's number!

I'm not arguing tradition, by the way, I'm arguing reality and money and professionalism. You're making the wrong argument. *I* prefer matches. And? We don't have one. We do have a tournament and signed contracts with players and organizers. We aren't going to get back to the glory days of the pre-1996 cycles and matches with a split title. So we need to realize that the current situation means we can't have everything we want at the same time.

There's nothing wrong with praying for a miracle or a lottery win. Meanwhile you still need to get up and go to work every day. I notice that aside from the "trolls" I'm told are my allies, fellow pros like Mark Crowther are also quick to be realistic about this. Players and people who know them and work with them realize how rare it is to have something like Mexico City. It's easy for fans to say "screw the sponsors and the players (except one) as long as we can have a 12-game match with rapid tiebreaks in Elista! And skip the cycle!" Matches and tradition yes, but not at such a high cost and not for such a tattered version of tradition.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the sponsors in Mexico never paid for the "Absolute Undisputed Unified WC-Title" - they paid for a tournament to decide the FIDE WC-title.

They can still have that.

In 1995 it was, indeed, Campo-FIDE, not Kirsan-FIDE, that was working toward the reunification match. In any case, in his demand for draw-odds against Karpov in a 1995 match, Kasparov sacrificed chess reunification to "purely personal" considerations.

Its not surprising that FIDE subsequently showed little interest in working with Kasparov. And given FIDE's sordid record, it's not surprising that Kasparov showed little interest in working with them.


Would you mind editing that down a tad a reposting it? It looked like you raised a worthwhile point or two but many of us in here have short attention spans.

I wish no one to be screwed over, definitely not the Mexican organizers and sponsors. They shouldn't pay the prize for the general ignorance that is reigning over FIDE.

Anyway, I like the way Emmanuel writes above and calls for negotiations on the status of the Mexico 2007 tournament. The Mexican organizers should be (maybe) wise enough to see (no matter what FIDE is telling them) that if they organize the tournament without Kramnik or Topalov in it, the tournament will not be taken seriously as a WC tournament - specially if Kramnik decides to stay away. The tournament will be hated by many and forgotten by all...fairly soon.

On the other hand Emmanuel quite correctly refreshes our memory on the great candidates events Zurich 1953 and Curacao 1962. Those tournaments lack nothing when compared to the sad tries that FIDE insisted calling WC tournaments: first the silly KOs and then San Luis. And by the way why would any organizer pay a lot more money to organize just another 'Linares, MTel, Wijk aan Zee'? To call it a WC tournament? Don't they want to arrange something special? If it was my money I know I would.

Anyway, here is my suggestion:

First I suggest that Mexico is a candidates event and defines the challenger for Kramnik. The WC match could take place in 2008 (in Mexico if they so want).

After that match I suggest this format:
The cycle could be 3 years:

1)During the first 18 months 4-6 Qualification tournaments around the globe. 2-3 (depending on the number of the tournaments) top finishers (No quotas for countries or continents.) advance to Candidates matches to make 12 candidates. The other 4 candidates would come from the last cycle: top 4 finishers. So the first time the loser from 2008 match and the second, third and fourth from Mexico 2007.
2)During the next 12 months all the candidates stages would be played:
16 candidates would play matches (where tiebreaks if needed with the silly armageddon as well).
1.rnd Best of 6 games + tiebreaks
2.rnd Best of 6 games + tiebreaks
3.rnd Best of 8 games + tiebreaks
Candidates final: Best of 12 games

3) The Challenger and the Champion get 5 months to prepare for the match and will play it during the 36th month of the 3 year cycle. (Champion has draw odds!) Maybe 16 games in the final...with draw odds for the Champ. So this match would be in 2011.

4) After this the nect cycle.

Well, reality is that Kirsan has already begun screwing Mexico just like he has screwed Elista in spite of funding invested. He does not even mind screwing his own money, and that since 11 years.

Not to worry, Kramnik will establish his "accurate match cycle" long long before Kirsan learns how to do it in his next reincarnation. Go Kramnik!

Again, Mr X and others, you can't just say "First..." Explain FIRST how you get the other seven players to accept a demotion and where so much money comes from on such short notice. Or are we supposed to play in a candidates with no guaranteed final match (Dortmund 2002)?

As with most organizers, wait, as with all organizers, the Mexico City people aren't interested in chess posterity nearly as much as promoting the sport, their sponsors, and the local event. They want to have an exciting event that will attract a lot of attention and promote chess. Quick, all you historians, how was attendance and media coverage for Zurich 53? You have no idea and neither do I. Welcome to the real world. "World Championship" sells. "Candidates" does not. Not taken seriously by whom? Are you saying you won't follow it? Hah. The chess fans will be there in force no matter what name it has. But to broach the MSM force field it has to be a title event. Even if all the fantasies come true they will have to have the final match within days of the end of the tournament to be happy for PR reasons.

Let me just remind everyone that this discussion is fine but Kramnik himself has never said he will refuse to play in Mexico. Or that he will break away. Or that a World Championship tournament is a crime against humanity.

He's said just about the same as everybody else. "I like matches." After thinking it all over and studying the situation from legal and other aspects we can probably expect some kind of official statement in a couple of weeks or so. And I think some might be surprised.

I am very intrigued as to when FIDE showed little interest in working with Kasparov. They have tried to get him into their knockouts, put him in as flagpiece of their Grand Prix, seeded him into their half of Prague ... FIDE just knew that there were times when there was nothing they could approach him with and others, when they did try to approach him but nothing could be worked out to both parties' satisfaction.

Sure, Greg. Here is a shorter version of my points:

1. In principle, match play for the title of world chamption fits better with our understanding of the point of our sport. It fits with the standards that we casually apply in judging who is the better player between any two individuals. It also fits with the individualistic nature of chess. As long as we care to find out who is the world's best chessplayer, we have good reason to prefer match play to tournament play as the proper format for deciding the WC title. Tournament play is affected too much by the performance of those at the lower end.

2. Mig is right to say (and, boy, he practically repeats it every second) that respecting your sponsors is paramount. NO-ONE DISAGREES and it is rather disingenuous to suggest that anyone who suggests modifications to the Mexico tournament "screws the sponsors". The issue, rather, is how to construct a system that is true to the principles of excellence in our sport and still preserve the quality, excitement and statute of the Mexico tournament. Mig thinks that keeping things as they are on paper is the only solution for the moment and that the issues of principle will have to be resolved later. I don't want to preoccupy the Mexico organizers' position like that. I think that if they are presented with a principled solution, a negotiated adjustment is possible. We'll just have to see.

"By the way, how about I show all these traffic numbers, and those of ChessBase, to the Mexico guys and suggest they cut the tournament prize fund in half, swap Topalov in for Kramnik, and use the other half of the prize fund ($650K) for a WCh match of 18 games in November? Too little cash? I can only think of, oh, just about everyone but the fans finding lots of reasons to disagree...
Posted by: Mig at October 13, 2006 12:11"

I take it they didn't like that suggestion? Or you weren't serious in the first place? In any case you are now acting as their lackey, and the discussion lacks intellectual honesty? It's easy to talk of finding money for matches (that generate more public interest than tournaments!) and it's easy to talk of Kirsan coming to his senses and organizing some sensible cycle when he gets his hands on the unified title (It indeed is true talk is cheap!)

So many words, so many insults and you have not once touched that problem. And it's a problem, because he is mad. You say that Mexico is unique, and rightly so. Tripoli was unique too.

I'll explain, Mig: Through negotiations! Ok? Discuss, find common ground, discuss, find more common ground...and so forth. I don't have an immediate answer, no one has, so negotiate. If I had the answer, I'd be the bloody almighty himself now, wouldn't I? :)

Just want to note the stark difference between the corrupt Azeri officials and the agreeable Radjabov who is willing whoever wins the worldchampionship.

On a more general note, it appears that only officials support Topalov, but no GMs. Whereas many GMs and officials support Kramnik.

Personally, I would wish for a compromise where the match format is retained but where Kramnik doesn't insist too hard on keeping the champion's traditional privileges. In theory, Mexico could be transformed into something where, I don't know, the four highest placed go through to semifinals. Or something like that. Yes, it would prolong the schedule, so if you think everything is already set in stone, then I guess it just is.

Where are all these insults I keep reading about? And now that you're calling me a "lackey" I guess that means you don't have any answers for my questions. Intellectual honesty also requires intellect.

Of course they didn't like that suggestion and Kirsan wants nothing to do with it. Nor does Kramnik, for that matter. He's not going to play for some piddling amount to please a few hundred fans any more than Mexico will neuter its event or the players will demote themselves. If such a miracle does occur it's going to take more than a few phone calls. It's going to take a few million dollars.

Mark Crowther is wrong when he calls 1948 a precedent. It was very different, because Alekhine had died and there was no reigning World Champion. That's not an argument.

In addition he tries to portray the top players as the potential victim of Kramnik's still hypothetic decision not to take part in Mexico City. How much would it affect those who finish 2nd-8th and would the winner mind a lucrative World Championship match?

On the other hand the players are already being shafted by FIDE. Candidate matches they prepared for have been turned into a Candidates tournament. Their playing schedules have been wrecked by the sudden postponement of these matches(=tournament now). And the prize fund has been decreased and will hardly be enough to cover their costs for those who have prepared seriously for the event and then won't make it to Mexico.

There are so many precedents with Kirsan, from Baghdad to Tripoli that those who seem more than willing to hand him rights to the unified title, should at least address this concern, instead of sweeping it under the rug.

Forced move...? Nevermind, I work for these Mexicans now.

Mig, have you had any sleep? Or are you not on American time?

That interview with the Azeri officials is unbelievable. I can just imagine a judge reading that - if the ones in Lausanne react anything like the ones here would then FIDE would be lucky to emerge from any hearing with their shirt.

Still, presumably now he's won Kramnik won't be suing, which is certainly a shame from the comedy angle.

Wonder who the Appeals Committee would have been for Kramnik-Radjabov?!

It seems simple to me. Run Mexico for the FIDE title. Sponsors get what they've paid for, fans in many parts of the world don't care much who wins; just another San Luis sideshow (also what the sponsors paid for). Winner plays Kramnik for the real title.

Personally though I reckon Kramnik will play Mexico and FIDE will shaft Topalov by leaving him out.

I'll add a last comment on all this because it's something everyone forgets every time we go through this sort of thing. All the parties have to hold the line and negotiate behind the scenes or they risk giving up their claims without a fight. It was the same way with unification. Everyone has to say they are the one true light while preparing to take the blue pill at the exact same moment in public. It would be suicidal for Mexico to come out now and say they'd love to be a candidates event even if that were true. Same goes for the seven candidatates and FIDE. Nothing can be public until the money is in place, so don't expect to hear a lot about negotiations along these lines. (Don't expect there to BE any for a while either, mind.)

acirce may be closer to the possible with an attempt at a two-tier event. Previous champions have offered to play in semifinals and such (and it even happened once) and that might be cheaper and more palatable to the other players.

One thing that the on-going discussions show is that the black-and-white unified title is evaporating in people's minds. It conforms much more to gray-and-gray reality to still talk about classical title and fide title, only that both titles happen to be in Kramnik's hands at the moment. This underlies much of the discussions between the black-and-whites and the gray-and-grays.

For example, for the black-and-whites the match tradition has already died at least until Mexico, and the gray-and-grays think that you cannot resurrect the match corps afterwards. I am with the gray-and-grays.

Why wouldn't the players agree to make it a candidates final?
As far as I can see they can only gain from that. The tournament would stay the same (possibly with Topalov instead of Kramnik), the prize money would be the same, heck, they could even call it the tournament world championship. On top of that they all have a shot at a (presumably) lucrative match for the real world championship. As far as I can see that's a win/win situation. All of them would get exactly what they were going to get anyways plus one of them would get extra.
Seems like a good business decision to me

rdh, Topalov gambled the title and lost. It's dumb for the loser of the match to be out of Mexico, but otherwise it would have been hard to justify cutting it down to just three qualification spots to make room. (Especially adding Kramnik as the loser when he didn't play in San Luis or Khanty-Manisiysk.) As usual, FIDE was hamstrung by their own lack of planning. But as much as I think Topalov should be there, he knew that was the risk of playing the match. He was compensated with half a million win or lose, so I don't shed too many tears for him. It's more a case of bad for fans who will miss his chess and bad for the chess world having the (probably still) #1 rated player not in the tournament.

Anyway, my hardly original prediction is that Kramnik won't play, Topalov gets in a vice-WC, and the schism is reborn officially. (As Lars points out, many consider it simply permanent, with Kramnik holding two titles now.)

Heh, no, I don't sleep much these days. My usual workload plus Mexico and Kasparov in town make for around 3-4 hours per 24, often in the form of short naps. I'm pretty used to a polyphasic sleep system, a consequence of working from home and deadline work that just needs to get done sometimes.

I like your logic, AZ79. The candidates are already being shafted, so they won't mind being shafted some more. Of course they mind. Going from a 1/8 chance to, at best, 1/16, isn't going to make your day. And I still haven't heard where the money for that lucrative WCh match is.

The 1948 precedent is the winner of a tournament being accepted as world champion, not as an excuse for abandoning matches. There is no asterisk on Botvinnik between the 1948 tournament and the Bronstein match (in which he got, and needed, draw odds, no less!). I don't consider it very relevant, personally, although it's not bad to remember.

And how do we address our concerns about Ilyumzhinov? He's there. Mexico is there. And? How are we supposed to hedge our bets with the contracts signed? Kramnik played in Elista to unify the title under FIDE. Don't ask us it, ask Kramnik. He knew he would be obliged (Ilyumzhinov's word) to play in Mexico. If he had no intent of unifying anything that's still no reason to derail a sponsored event unless it rains money on everyone.

Well said zero. I have found most of your comments plausible on this matter. I don't either think the title was unified with the Kramnik - Topalov match. More like in Boxing, the reigning Champion is holding both "belts" currently. BUT if Kramnik was to take part in Mexico City, he would place his classical title on line.

Even if he insisted contrary to this point, doubt the public would recognize him anymore as the champion were Kramnik to end e.g. 4th in the final standings. It would be thereafter impossible for the classical line to exist outside of Kirsan's corrupt FIDE unless the new Champion, be it say Topalov, re-opened the schism, which e.g. in Topalov's case would be most unlikely.

No offense Mig, but what I ment with dishonesty, was the near complete disregard for this concern. You made it sound like things wouldn't change with Mexico. "Let's have Mexico and then try to build a working cycle" would be a much more understandable position without the Kirsan/Makro/Azmai factor. Zhukov remains a question mark in this equation. Don't you share the concern that what Kirsan could do with the unified title?

You seem to have dodged that point through-out this thread.

The position of the World Champion is now at it's strongest since 1993, why not use it as a leverage to force FIDE to make compromises and move towards more sensible policies? Opposition against the corrupt regime can be built around the World Champion. Playing along nicely to these Mexico City plans could seriously alter that situation.

Isn't the main question for the concerned chess lovers, despite Turin 2006, the democratization of FIDE and freeing the game from Kirsan's clutches, pressurizing him to give up some of his power and take up a more ceremonial role?

Doesn't that go above any short term sponsorship concerns? DOn't we all agree that top level chess can only attract steady and lucrative sponsorship income when the organization is run professionally and has cleaned it's image? Aren't all potential sponsors going to type "Kirsan Ilyumzhinov" into Google and then 99% (ok bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point) of them say "forget it"?

To quote Kramnik's open letter from October 2nd:

"4. High level functionaries inside FIDE once again were making the professional part of the chess world a disgraceful playground of their own interests. I strongly believe and hope that the course of these events made it obvious to everyone that drastic changes with regard to the professional management structures inside FIDE are evident."

If Kramnik, Zhukov, Kok and a number of top players could get together and force Kirsan to make these "drastic changes" would it be such a big loss to chess sponsorship were the Mexico City sponsors to fall a minor casualty in all this?

(If you ask the chess fans I'd say 80-90% want to see matches over tournaments. And matches more easily are recognized by non-chess media, which could see a further increase with the potentially unified title now. A point to remember for the sponsors, no?)

"If he didn't want to be FIDE champion and play in FIDE events, what the hell was he doing in Elista?" –Kasparov. Kramnik was teaching Kasparov a lesson in politics.

Who has the political talent to achieve a WCC cycle/match under a competent organization?

Kasparov bolted the organization and then attacked it. As Mig says, Kasparov's aggressive, "mercurial" style is more often a handicap than an advantage in political negotiations. Kasparov's victories in the political arena have been "few and fleeting." Chessbase. 08.04.02

Kramnik has a more stable, calmer political style. Winning in Elista, he vastly increased his leverage. His next step is to retain the threatened classical WCC match tradition within FIDE. What's the best way to proceed? "[Kirsan is] going to do whatever sells and/or whatever political forces pressure him into. (The Elista match falls into the latter category). With Zhukov on his case matches are looking much more likely."

Mig has the key. Political forces pressured Kirsan into staging the Elista match. And those forces can again pressure Kirsan into (finally, finally) instituting a reliable cycle and wcc match. Those forces: The threat of a strong champion on the outside. And Zhukov.

Let's encourage Kramnik to calmly exercise his leverage, and Zhukov's, toward achieving a political solution which fully honors a) the classical championship and b) the Mexican sponsors and which, looking forward, brings about a stable, match-driven cycle for selecting a wcc candidate.

acirce, your suggestion is great. Nobody gets shafted and we get to keep matches. That would be an ideal format for all future world championships.

Mig is standing correct this time.

Mexico is the next World Championship event and Kramnik has agreed to play in it. If Kramnik doesn't keep his word? Simple, Kramnik goes out, Topalov comes in. That would also mean greater chess in Mexico for real chess fans (not fans of toilets and soap operas)...


Quite enjoyable. Thanks for your trouble.

Kramnik so far has negotiated his calmer political style and leverage into:
--short match with rapid tiebreak
--having to give up his title claim regardless of outcome
--no draw odds
--mandatory participation in Mexico
--regular contender status in Mexico
--forfeit of game 5 in Elista

He has also publicly stated in S-E in June that he really didn't care about the terms for the match, just that it take place.

Every time a champion successfully retains the title, his standing receives a boost. Kramnik has to attempt to stage a cycle and show that there are prominent GMs who are willing to participate in it. He was unable to do so after Brissago, perhaps due to illness. But without a cycle his standing will evaporate with time.

It's about time Kramnik takes a proactive stand in the chess world. The Moscow press conference was a good start.

Trying to connect the dots:
1) Kramnik has funding ($1M) to play with computer.
2) FIDE introduced match system for the WC title for anyone with $1M / 2700+ at any time suitable for all participants.
3) FIDE also has an occasional tournament for all without $1M.
4) FIDE may also look in rematch for any winner on short notice.

Wow, it looks like FIDE build a production line for generation their own fees payments and leaving to Mexico alike to sell t-shirts ;-)

Now FIDE should also introduce membership for computer engines and try collect from matches between them and peoples ;-)

'Connected the dots' - everything goes for FIDE - match, rematch, tournament - all with mandatory fee. Elista was an investment to keep hold on FIDE and boost position of their pet - Topalov. Would Kramnik 'bark' for or against FIDE - time will show - hopefully not.

Kirsan very often makes spontaneous decisions that lead to chaos. For example, Elista was well organized otherwise, but his spontaneous decision of locking the toilet doors lead to chaos.

Keep this in mind for those wonderful suggestions proposed. It is unrealistic to expect Kirsan to change in this regard.

Impeach Kirsan! Long live Kramnik!

1948 is NOT a precedent for another tournament to determine a new World Champion, because you have a living, playing World Champion right now. That was done only because Alekhine was dead! Kramnik is not dead. People need to stop citing 1948, as it has absolutely no connection to the situation now, and can't be used as a precedent (because it isn't one).

"I'm only insulting people who think throwing away a sponsored championship event is a good idea. You have to build trust to be taken seriously and trying to switch an event many months after the contracts have been signed is horrible."

Actually my, and many others message was that it was not a good idea, but the lesser of two evils. Building trust with Kirsan in command is utopia bigger than expecting match sponsorship to fall from the sky. Although I'm not expecting money from heaven, I recon the probability higher than for Kirsan keeping to his deals.

And most importantly, if you dont take this power away from Kirsan, what stops him from signing the next contract before the Mexico tournament is over? And then the next? With worse and worse conditions, until the world championship is a backgammon knockout with coin tosses for tiebreaks.


As a general rule, any time anyone ever talks about "democratization" in any context, it means
"I want more power for myself and people with my agenda." Calls for the "democratization" of FIDE are no exception.

Usually, "democratization of FIDE", as I've seen it used, means a combination of things in this list: "I want Kirsan out of there by any means. I want more power for the US and Western European federations, and less for the federations in Russia, the former Soviet Republics, China and Eastern Europe, and the Third World, unless they have regime change. I want a better business model. I want FIDE to build better and more stable sponsorship relations with Western corporations. I want a good and stable WC system; and 'good' means match play and succession by match victory. I oppose corruption and favoritism."

Now, there might or might not be good reasons for any or all of these things - I will stand up against corruption and personalistic favoritism right now, if asked - but I will just point out that there is no obvious link between any of them and DEMOCRATIZATION. The right autocrat could accomplish them all. And all of them could be obstructed by democratic means.

Arguing for a link between "democratization" and all these goals, people often use rhetoric which is awfully reminiscent of the way George Bush talks about Iraq: "If people have democracy, they will choose the good things, like getting rid of Kirsan and a match play WC. If we have bad things, it must be because we have tyranny and not democracy. Our enemies hate us because we love democracy" and so on.

Myths are also dragged out like the "microfederation" myth, which says that Kirsan was re-elected in Turin by a cheating voting system which got him votes from microfederations like Jersey and Guernsey, ignoring the fact that the megafederations like Russia and China were on his side also.

Anyone who wants to impress me as selflessly committed to the "democratization" of FIDE will have to answer this question, as a first step: "Who do you think the 'voting population' of FIDE IS or should be? Everyone with a FIDE rating? All professional players? All organizers? All national federations taken equally, regardless of population? National federations weighted by.... what? Population of country? Players with a FIDE rating? What?"

[I've asked this question on the ICC a few times, and this is how it commonly goes:

"The voting in FIDE should be weighted by the populations of the countries."

"Oh. OK. So you are happy to have China and India and Indonesia and Russia and Brazil run things? Fine by me! :-) They mostly support Kirsan, you know."

"Well, uh, it should be weighted by the number of titled players."

"Oh. OK. So you are happy to have Russia and China and India and Eastern Europe run things? Fine by me! :-) They mostly support Kirsan, you know."

"Well, wait, give me a moment to come up with a voting system that will do what I want"]

After that, my next round of questions would be, "What evidence do you have that this population has the same agenda that you have, other than the Bushian argument that your agenda is so objectively good that anyone who opposes it must be an agent or terrorized slave of Evil? If this population wants what you want as badly as you want it, why haven't they already done something about it?"

Attempts to answer these last questions might get at the REAL sources of some of the problems faced by FIDE.

Mig, ok, a lot of us consider Kramnik 14th World champion. But what if he loses Mexico? I know you say it wouldn't be a tragedy. But really, what would happen? I mean, let's say someone other than Kramnik wins Mexico - let's say, a relative underdog like Svidler. What is the status of the title? Should we consider Svidler the 15th world champion in the Steinitz line? Or is the Steinitz line stopping with Kramnik because he didn't lose his title in a match? If Kramnik puts his classical title at stake in Mexico (either by explicitly saying he is doing that or by recognizing that the FIDE title is the only valid one now that Elista match is over) - what is the status of the title? Should Mexico be considered an exception to the match tradition like 1948 tournament? Or will Kramnik forfeit the classical title as soon as he agrees that Mexico is the WC and therefore the classical title will be vacant kinda like when Fischer refused to defend it the same way he got? I am confused about the mechanics of deciding what essentually is a match title in a tournament. I am very interested to hear your opinion on the status of the CLASSICAL, STEINITZ title if Kramnik agrees to play in Mexico AND recognizes it as WC AND loses.

freitag: perhaps the reason that matches were being held without any problems in 1951-1990 era is the financial support of the Soviet Union?

Theodulf, very good post.

Mig, btw, the URL of Topalov's website in this item is misspelled.


Good points!

Theodulf, my appreciation for your very fine post too. The real situation with FIDE politics couldn't be described better! :-)


Maybe we agree.

Kramnik pre-Elista had very little bargaining power and had to take what he could get. FIDE may have given him the match only because they were sure he'd lose. Let's hope Kramnik uses any new-found influence for the chess world's advantage.

But I have come concerns about his manager. Vlad said he negotiated for himself because Hensel didn't speak Russian. But couldn't Hensel find a translator/negotiator who wasn't busy playing a WCC match?

And. The Elista rules refer to "final" appeals committee decisions, but an active manager nonetheless covers every base by filing
--a request to reconsider the toilet ruling
--a protest of the locked door
--a protest of the start of the clocks
--a protest of the forfeit, and
--a protest of commencing tie-breaks at a "6-5" score

You have to assert your rights at every opportunity. It might not help, but it couldn't hurt.

Theodulf has accomplished the unimaginable:

He has made acirce, giannis and Greg Koster agree.

Compared to that getting the Mexico tournament organizers, FIDE, Kramnik, Other 7 players and Topalov (if necessary) to agree should be a piece of cake.

Interview with Kramnik at Chesscafe.


The part of this whole discussion that confuses me is that Mig seems to be operating under the belief that FIDE under Kirsan can in fact fix the problem.

Why would any sane person think that?

What was Kramnik doing in Elista? Easy, he was pocketing a ton of money from a madman and trying to demonstrate that he deserves his title.

Having done both, he now has an obligation to protect that title, and step one is to not let the match tradition die.

Another point Greg, Kramniks manager made a significant mistake in not filing a protest within 2 hours of the end of game 5 - quite negligent actually

Mr Gijssen in his ChessCafe article does not mention that he could postpone the game 5 based on the following:
"3.18.3 After the World Chess Championship Committee agrees with the Organisers on the arrangements in respect of the tournament hall, facilities, accommodation and meals, transportation, telecommunication, ceremonies, etc., no objections from the participants shall be acceptable as long as the conditions are in accordance with the rights of the players granted in their agreements." This regulation was obviously broken. We know he talked to kramnik before game 5, therefore, he new, that the Appeals Committee changed the conditions granted to kramnik without Kramnik's acceptance and in violation to Kramnik's contract. Chief Arbiter could postpone the game until all conditions were restored, or a compromise found. May be, Mr Gijssen belives that conditions relate only to knight shape? We need Fischer back, then, to explain what it really means.
Mr. Gijssen also mentions that "No postponement of any game shall be allowed except with permission of the FIDE President." Does this mean that in case of huge smell, he will force players to start the game, if President does not give his permission to delay? There is no specific requirement in 2 documents he mentions as obligatory for him, for the air freshness in the playing zone. C.1.4.3 only mentions that AC must be silent, no requirement for fresh air.

"People tend to call me a match player, rather than a tournament player. However, I don’t think they get the point. I am a player capable of focusing all his effort at the proper time. I admit I may be a bit lazy. I am not Kasparov – sometimes I lack energy or motivation, call it whatever you like, but I am not always able to give 100% in every tournament. What I can do is concentrate at critical moments, and it brings its rewards. If I play in the world championship tournament, I think I have real chances of winning it. I would prepare for it as seriously as I did for this match, and play it in a different way than in, say, Wijk aan Zee. When I have goal (and not a financial goal), I do my best. A competition for the world championship is huge. It is a highly important goal for me, so I can definitely concentrate all my energy on it."

Interesting. That's what I have started thinking about Kramnik's game, too. It seems like he is too lazy to give 100% every time he plays. He only turns it on when he absolutely has to - and all his WC matches are examples of that. I remember that before Elista match Morozevich wrote on chesspro.ru forum that Kramnik could raise his level when his back was against the wall, and it sure was against the wall in the WC match. So Moro turned out to be right.

@russianbear dunno about the financial support of the soviet union in 1950-1990, but obviously there was a political component in those games between east and west, or between east and dissidents from the east ;)
This is now gone, but I don't see the evidence of a round robin now. I think FIDE had some good ideas like the world cup in Kanty Mansysk (correct spelling?) last year. This is an interesting ko-format format for qualifiers. I liked it.
If it is so hard too find sponsors for a two person match (which I can't believe) then let run an Open parallel to this event. Then you have at least some visitors ;)

More info for Mr. Gijssen:

VI. The Chief Arbiter and his duties

His duties are ... to ensure order in the playing venue and players' comfort during play, ...
He must check the playing venue, the lighting, heating, ventilation and other conditions. It is his final decision, whether all playing conditions meet the requirements of FIDE regulations.

This was up to him to decide, do changed conditions meat match regulations, or not. Therefore, he should decide that the final decision made by the Appeals Committee violates the match regulations (see my previous post). He could not reverse this decision, but he could demand to restore all conditions to the state accepted by both players before the match in accordance to the regulations. And until this is done, he could not start the clock.

I get a kick out of Kramnik's understated wit and I enjoyed the Chess Cafe article. Thanks, dirtbag.

The article will certainly stop Kramnik's detractors from calling him a "painter." Now they'll call him a "lazy painter."

When was the last time you saw a painter who is not lazy? Thanks God, Kramnik is not that purist artist to also take drugs to liberate his imagination ;-)

If the sponsors in Mexico are suppose to be so upset, then what about Radjabov's sponsors. They must have lost millions on all the tee shirts they had printed, etc. but we hear not one word of complaint. They completely lost their Match and have nothing to replace it with.

Mig you have sold your soul to the devil. The devil called money. I have watched Susan Polgar support Topalov and blame Kramnik for the toilet affair. It killed her credibility. of course she will recover. But getting on the wrong side is not the right thing to do.

George Bush has a term for your actions. He calls it "flip flop." You are flip flopping with the money.

I personally have read your writings from issue #1 of your great write ups. but now I have lost a lot of respect for your honesty and ability to do the right thing for chess. You have fought Kirsan for years and now you join his little group of groupies who earn money from his decisions. you support Kirsan because you get money by supporting his methods.

Come on Mig. This is a war between the good guys and the evil death star. We must defeat Kirsan the Darth Vadar of chess at all costs.

Mig you are arguing with a brick wall. When you are wrong you are wrong. It is not necessary for me to prove you are wrong. It is not necessary for me to show you how you are wrong. that does not make you right. You are wrong because you are wrong. And no arguments will change that.

So go back and read your early writings. get your spirit back into the old groove. We all suggest that you talk to the Mexico people with the vigor you have argued with us. get back onto the right side. Help Mexico to understand. Help Mexico to do the right thing for chess. Mexico becomes a candidates tournament for picking the challenger to face Kramnik in a match.

got it now Mig. It is a simple idea. Put your energy to fighting for the right cause. Stop fighting with your readers. We do not have the power to make the critical decisions that must be make. go argue with Mexico city. get them to negotiate like Emmanuel suggested.

Frank H's posts reminds me of Tommy.

Frank H: You're a clown. "Right" cause, blah, blah... What makes you feel so righteous? Just because on this forum there are few screamers who create a lot of noise and the impression of majority? "Look at how many we are" – what, 10-15 schmucks who go after Polgar or Mig for stating what they believe in. This is beneath contempt. I saw the communists use similar tactics all these years. Most of the screaming is so void of sense that doesn't merit a serious response.


No idea why, dirtbag. Must be a coincidence.

Frank H, thanks alot. My bad english doesn't allow me to express all my toughts here, but You say all what I think.
Mig you are not fooling anyone here with all you blah-blah about sponsors. I understand you have money interest in the mexico tournament, but please dont tell us is all because is good for chess.

That Kramnik interview quoted by Russianbear is an extremely accurate description of his play, in my view. Which is exactly why many fans, including myself, would prefer to see as champion players like Topalov (minus Danailov of course), Morozevich or Ivanchuk (Anand sometimes lacks fighting spirit as well), rather than the Great Painter. This is not a question of style, for example I always was a Karpov fan and enjoyed his positional play: it's simply a shame to see such enormous talent go wasted so often. How many more brilliant games and ideas Spassky could have produced in the last twenty years, with a character like Kortchnoi's!

But, you know, if chess is a sport the winner is always right...

"That Kramnik interview quoted by Russianbear is an extremly accurate description of his [Kramniks] play, in my view" (Posted by prugno on this board).
I think it's nice to hear that Vlad will take part in the Mexican Tournament and try to win it. Sounds to me like a serious approach ;)

Am I the only one perceiving the following shift of emphasis?

In the interview on the day after the match http://www.chesscafe.com/misha/misha.htm while he was still in Elista, Kramnik was pretty neutral between WC match and WC tournament, mentioning both with about equal emphasis.

However, in his press conference two days later in Moscow in the presence of pro-match Zhukov, Kramnik himself appears to have shifted emphasis towards WC match.

The shift of emphasis is subtle but tangible, IMHO

I am very interested to hear what people have to say about Kramnik's comments regarding opening novelties and preparation.

He said that although Topalov forked out almost all the prepared novelties in the match, his preparation was not worse. He pointed out that Topalov's novelties were basically one-offs meant to imbalance him, rather than deep and original ways of handling the openings that appeared in the match.

I have to say I agree with Kramnik. Just think: how many of Topalov's novelties would you expect to be taken up in GM practice? If anything, the a3-g3-f4 plan of Game 9 has already been torn apart in various analyses (Topalov was surely aware of that and he did not employ it again). Moreover, the one original opening idea that sticks to my mind from Elista was Kramnik's brilliant treatment of the Catalan in game 10.

I should add that I am not trying to downgrade Topalov's opening preparation or his play in many games. To take just one example, in Game 12 Topalov's play is a fine demonstration of how to handle the Stonewall formation as Black. But I feel that his novelties have not advanced our chess understanding of key positions, in the way that novelties in earlier matches (not least Kramnik's own Berlin defence) have done.

What do you think?


Agreed. In Kasparov-Kramnik there were four Berlins but only one "wall." Games 9 and 13 were short-draw non-games. Game 3 a thrilling jailbreak. But how many games have impressed themselves on chess consciousness like Game 1 where, in 25 moves, Kramnik tied the Ruy Lopez in a knot?

You can claim that Kramnik playing in mexico and destroying the WC lineage would be good for chess all you want. You will continue to get hundreds yes hundreds of responses pointing out your errors. However, updating the main part of blog by quoting the few comments which happen to agree with you is lame.

Mark Crowther may believe its clear no one will pay for candidates matches but the fact is still that FIDE *required* many times what these players could hope to get in a typical tournament. They priced the candidates matches out of the market so suckers like you would say "see there is no interest in matches"

You know it, I know it, and everyone who follows professional chess knows it so lets stop playing dumb.


Your neighbor gives you good advice about used cars. One day he becomes a used car dealer. Standing in his showroom you're no longer expecting advice on cars, you're expecting he'll try to sell you a car. You know he'll skip over small details like an oil leak or two, poor gas mileage.

Mig's dealing Mexico. You're in his showroom. Caveat emptor.

My prediction: Kramnik will play in Mexico. He will also win, most likely (70% chance of that).

As I wrote before the end of the Topalov-Kramnik match -- no matter who wins, the unification has ocurred. Kramnik sold his soul to the devil (=FIDE), if some people like it put that way. There's no wiggling out of that now. Despite what a few loud folks around here think, there's nobody with Kasparov's proven stature of being active and winning at every venue so that he can break out and have an independent appeal.



We do agree on some things. I agree that Kramnik and his management can and should do a more proactive job in organizing and participating in the chess world, both as far as events that have to do with Kramnik and events without his immediate involvement (candidates cycles, player treatment by organizers, perhaps even ethical disputes). We also agree that better job could have been done by Kramnik's team in negotiations in the past.

We disagree in interpretation of past events. I find it hard to believe that Kramnik was really that powerless in his negotiations going in. First up, he had the one chip Kirsan wanted: the title acknowledged by most chess fans as the real world championship. Kirsan was so proud that he got that title under his control he made a major announcement about it a centerpiece of his campaign for president. Secondly, Kramnik's power did not really change from the negotiations for the match till after the match was over. Yet during this time FIDE chose to reverse its appeals committee's decision to favor Kramnik. Whether this was because of pressure from Zhukov or because they simply didn't want the embarrassment of Kramnik bolting or desire to get the titles unified doesn't matter. The point is FIDE listened to what Kramnik wanted.

I also don't agree that Kramnik erred in judgement in his handling of the bathroom scandal. It doesn't make any sense to appeal the Appeals Committee's decision back to the Committee itself (unless maybe you have some radical new info: Topalov is cheating, video of what Kramnik is doing in the bathroom, etc.) You can either then view the Committee as having absolute power, which may be implied in 3.17.1, or appeal to what you believe to be the higher power, such as the President and Arbiter which is implied in 3.16.7 and is how people generally understand these things anyway--nobody thinks that Appeals Committee will ignore what Kirsan decides and indeed that's ultimately what happened.

I am not sure which of the potential appeals you mention Kramnik actually filed and some of them are rather repetive--the effect of so many appeals would have probably cost him some good will from both organizers and fans.
There is little doubt that the new Appeals Committee's decisions were decided not based on merit but on idea of enforcing the compromise achieved after Game 5. I think Kramnik public relations campaign outlining his beef while also going for the best avenue of appeal (outside court) was a very correct approach. It allowed him to keep playing while also giving him a moral "out clause" if he were to end up losing the match, according to FIDE's score.

Remember the moronic selection of reader letters published by chessbase two years ago at the end of http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=1976 ? Remember noted chess writer's principled opinions on the issue expressed here: http://www.chessninja.com/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=345 ? Compared that to his current evaluation of the off-the-board position and to his best-move suggestion expressed in this thread? Still confused? If you got four times "yes", forget this.

"Your neighbor gives you good advice about used cars. One day he becomes a used car dealer. Standing in his showroom you're no longer expecting advice on cars, you're expecting he'll try to sell you a car. You know he'll skip over small details like an oil leak or two, poor gas mileage."

@gregkoster Though I disagree with most of your posts this is a nice comparison. I think I will use it in one of my short stories ;)

theodulf posted:

"Anyone who wants to impress me as selflessly committed to the "democratization" of FIDE will have to answer this question, as a first step: "Who do you think the 'voting population' of FIDE IS or should be? Everyone with a FIDE rating? All professional players? All organizers? All national federations taken equally, regardless of population? National federations weighted by.... what? Population of country? Players with a FIDE rating? What?""


Both things are important to consider. The number of titled players and the number of active players. Because FIDE is for both top level chess and amateur level chess. You could give countries from 1 to 6 votes depending on these factors. Russia would get 6. Germany, USA, China, Ukraine would get 5. Some of these minor countries who have 10 FIDE rated players on the list would get 1 vote. It makes no sense for these effectively non-chess countries to have the same say as Germany, Russia, China and USA (among others).

Also there could be a top chess committee inside FIDE consisting of the highest ranked 20-30 players and/or their representatives, as many of the decisions affect them directly. They could be consulted on matters such as Mexico City and match format, even if they didn't have formal power.

And please, let's not talk about democracy in the sense of "they just had different opinions and decided to vote for Kirsan" when, let's stop being naive for a second, votes were being bought. Democracy is not just about casting your vote. It's also about open decision making, fighting corruption, fair corruption free elections, avoiding favouritism.

There should be general guidelines in place that would prevent such things, whoever then was elected to lead FIDE. Please it's not just about Kok vs Kirsan. It's about much more than that.

Mig has agreed in the past, and has sounded sensible and principled on the matter but would now trust Kirsan with the unified title, and seemingly wouldn't mind if the only potential opposition figure, the Classical World Champion, disappeared from the scene in Mexico City, giving Kirsan free hands to do whatever he pleases.

Not long ago it was about Kirsan driving sponsors away, and now it's all about Mexico City (and who cares what happens thereafter?). And if you disagree you are a nihilist idiot who doesn't have intellect. Beautiful.

Every one of Mig's comments (and associated insults) needs to be accompanied by an asterik (*), given that he is acting out of loyalty to his current employer (the Mexico organizers).

That said, I'd like to point out several good reasons for Kramnik NOT playing in this "World Championship" farce south of the border:

1. Contrary to what Mig says, this single tournament is not a CYCLE. This is a one-shot affairs, not different from the San Luis that Mig criticized so much. The only difference is that Mig is getting paid this time. Why should Kramnik play in this? He just proved who the real and inly World Champion is, didn't he?

2. Contrary to what Mig says, the Mexico Tournament is NOT part of the "title unification" process. As anyone can verify, the title WAS UNIFIED a few days ago. Kramnik is the RECOGNIZED World Champion: by the fans,by Topalov, by the press, by FIDE. And perhaps even by Mig and Kasparov.

3. I'm not a mathematician, but it seems to me that "defending" the title against 7 opponents simultaneously is not good business for Kramnik or any world champion, for that matter. And I'm not talking about the odds only. There's also the possibility of collusion, accidents, agendas, etc...

4. There's no guarantee that the Mexican sponsors will be there next time. What happens after this? Who can guarantee that this is the beginning of a REAL cycle? Kirsan?, Mig? The Mexican Organizers?

5. If a simple tournament without any tradition can become the de fact World Championship, we might as well give the privilege to one of the recognized, long-standing ones, like Linares or Chorus. At least, we know odds are they will be there next year.

Finally, I hope my post is not taken as a dig on the Mexico Organizers. They have done nothing wrong, as far as I know. Their problem is trusting Kirsan and believing that a large enough prze fund will magically erase the legitimate Word Championship tradition. It is not going to happen. At this point their best bet is to get Kirsan to break his own rules, insert Topalov (assuming he wants a part of this, which is not a good idea, either) and produce a challenger for Kramnik in 2008. After all, if they are serious about Chess and about sponsoring the World Championship, they will love the idea. Kramnik would surely agree to play the winner in Mexico City in 2008. Sponsos would love it, fans would love it and Mig would get paid a second time!!!

Life is good...


you make some good points but keep in mind it is far from clear how badly Kirsan wanted Kramnik's title. I believe he really wanted to leave Kasparov's(after his split) kramnik's title as irrelevant. If he really cared about unification he probably could have gotten one of Kasparov's matches off.

He didn't want to concede thier legitimacy at all. Even in this match he was posting jabs at the Brissago WC match. Yet there were no cracks about Tripoli or his other abominations.

Kramnik was the one who really pushed for this match with Topalov. It wasn't the other way around by any stretch. It also wasn't FIDE pushing this.

If anything I got the distinct impression FIDE didn't want it. They had thier puppet champion and he had a highest rating of an active player. They had a free hand to change around thier prior promises to about matches and they were using it. Soon after they had Topalov as champ, they changed the final match into a tournament. They then put a huge minimum bid on the the candidates matches, and then canceled them due to lack of interest.

Yes kirsan ultimately agreed to reinstate the contract conditions. But this was quite a turnaround. Remember his initial response? Its hard to see how his real feelings changed so quickly.

But he took a point from Kramnik. I think he thought the match would be over. Again I think from this situation as a whole it again shows kramnik wanted this match more than anyone. He kept playing.

I'm not saying Kirsan saw only disadvantages to this match. But on the whole I think he was the one who had to be pushed. It wasn't something he cared about.

If it is clear to everyone that chess is better off without Kirsan's crazy ideas for the championship, then what should we do? Should the players "just keep playing" pursuant to kirsan's orders? Is this going to help chess? Are we going to wait until Kirsan gets voted out of FIDE? Then and only then can we do what is good for chess?


At the beginning of 2006, Kramnik was a player coming off the worst year in his chess playing, with no prospects for organizing a new cycle and all players firmly committed to FIDE's system. If Kirsan wanted to keep the title irrelevant, all he had to do was ignore Vlad. He didn't. Instead he insisted on a match, taking place under FIDE aegis, in his hometown, for Kirsan's money. Kramnik was called the Classical World Champion and Topalov did not receive draw odds. I didn't even see the Brissago jabs...they probalby weren't too prominent.
Kramnik's initial offer to Topalov was rejected by FIDE on a simple basis: it was outside of FIDE--they insisted they be in on it.
I forgot about Kirsan's initial letter! There were so many documents in those days to keep track of. It seems to me that Illyumzhinov was willing to let the decision stand...as long as it didn't end the match. He was williing to give Topalov an extra point, since that would help his man, but not have the match end in a Kramnik forfeit, since that would question the legitimacy of the winner(Topalov)'s claim to the unified title. When he saw that Kramnik not playing was a distinct possibility, he tried to get the situation resolved.

First I want to preface this by saying that I do not claim to really know Kirsan's motives. Its hard if not impossible to tell what someones secret motives are if you can't trust what they say they are. But based on his and FIDE's course of conduct I think he really wanted to refuse Kramnik's match proposals.

When did Kirsan say he *insists* on the match taking place. I wan't aware of that. Before the match started and was a an undeniable huge hit, did anyone from FIDE ever even say this match *should* take place? The statements all seemed neutral, at best, by my memory.

Kramnik made it clear he didn't object to FIDE being inovlved in the first attempt at a match. However, that one in fact fell apart once FIDE became involved. Danilov was inconsitant in his comments about what happened.

No doubt there were two, or more, different stories about what happened. I give Hensel/kramnik version more credibility than Danilov/Topalov. according to Hensel and Kramnik they wanted to work things out with the players and then bring in FIDE. They say they had things worked out with Topalov. Then FIDE came on the scene and Topalov inexplicably backed out.

The jabs at brissago were in the press releases during the match on the official website.

Yes Kirsan used the match as propaganda to boost his image. But I do not think this proves he really wanted the match. I don't think he did but in the end I think he probably thought Topalov woudl win anyway. But I admit this is "educated speculation" on my part.


Change insisted to "organized, paid for, hosted and made a major announcement about". We don't know if Kirsan went to Kramnik after the original proposal went through or vice versa or if the interest was mutual. So I will not speculate on it. Except say this: if Kirsan was not interested in Kramnik's title, all he had to do was sit on his hands and wait for Kram's options to run out. Instead he quickly gave us a match. Paid for with his own money.

FIDE certainly said the match should take place...they promoted it big-time from the initial announcement to the start in press releases, announcements at congress, website, etc.

I do not see how putting on a match and strongly promoting it means they did not want it. Now why they might have wanted it is a completely different story.

I agree that there have been a lot of stories floating around the initial proposal. But nobody seems to dispute the basics: Topalov says ok to Kramnik, whose investor has a condition that the players negotiate first, then bring FIDE in. FIDE says no and insists the match take place under its aegis and according to its terms.

I find this to be a really unusual discussion for the Dirt: we are acknowledging each other's points and being respectful.

If anyone is interested in talking to Geurt Gijssen and telling him how you feel on the issue I will give you his email address.

If you support him then let him know. If you do not support him then let him know.

I would recommend that you pass this out on other chess boards and ask people to let Geurt know how they feel.


Do not use this for spamming and everyone should talk to Geurt with dignity and respect. I do not want to hear any feedback from Geurt that anyone talked to him in a bad way. Remember it is ok to disagree if you do it with dignity and respect.

if you expect him to give your letter consideration you should include your name and country of origin. Remember he just might publish what you say in his monthly column at chesscafe.

I find it suspect that other people's email addresses are published like this. Whether this has Mr. Gijssen's consent completely escapes me.

I do have an opinion on his actions in Elista, but I don't feel comfortable starting sending him emails to an address that was given out by someone else. After all Mr. Gijssen was just trying to do his job - right or wrong. Sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes we get things right. Anyhow, Seirawan's suggestion of an investigation might be in order if for nothing else but to learn from the whole unfortunate string of events in Elista. But calling for spamming a private email seems wrong to me.

(Alexi, if your post had Mr.Gijssen's consent you should have clearly stated so or better yet ask kindly Mr. Gijssen himself to publish his email for such purposes. No offense.)

Oh, let's just move on. The match is over, we have a new champion!

Alexi, I hope you know what you are doing...
I pity Geurt, no matter what I may think of his actions in Elista.


FYI, earlier today I emailed Mig asking him to think about deleting the comment containing Geurt's email. I have no idea whether the address given is real or bogus, but I figure Mig would know, and would probably share my feeling that no possible good can come from the arbiter receiving spam and/or hate mail from people who got his address on Dirt. (although Alexi asked people who write Gijssen to be respectful, any expectation that people who get his address here will be respectful, is obviously not reasonable or even sane.)

Mr. Gijssen might not mind. And if this is Geurt's professional e-mail then this is exactly the kind of feedback from chess fans that it's for.

Chess Teacher - Agreed, though we don't have a new champion- the champion of the last 6 years has extended his reign...

Publication of someone's email address without their explicit consent is not a good move- The only way to do that is to post your address yourself.

For once I agree with Jon Jacobs!!!!

>>Oh, let's just move on.

We can't very well do that as long as the issues remain outstanding. The courts still have to have their fun, and the ACP will probably denounce Topalov even further. The move to ban or blackball him, which might have softened a bit following his defeat, will probably continue, due to his bad post-match conduct, and just as well, since the behavior, which he still supports, is deleterious to the game. The whole question of the power of the World Champion vs. the Power of FIDE will go on forever, of course.

>>The match is over, we have a new champion!

Correction. We still have the same old champion.

For what it's worth on the match vs. tournament debate, Anatoly Karpov is reporting that Kirsan has had a change of heart about the current system and is currently in favor of a more classical cycle:


I have no idea if this is going to be a lasting feeling.

Thx for your comments and citations.
To complete the picture, it would be interesting to establish a chronology on Mig's "flip-flopping" about match/tournament WCC.
For example, when was it exactly that Mexico was officially announced?
And when did Mig begin his Mexico PR job?
And, finally, when did Mig start to write that having a tournament WC wasn't so bad, as long as we don't "screw the sponsors"??


That trail is getting cold. As is the controversy over Mig's crusade to pry the arthritics out of their rest areas and chain them to the chessboard. But I'm sure Mig appreciates you gently guiding him along the paths of righteousness.

You guys are starting to sound like the 2004 Bush campaign. Any nuance is flip-flopping. Anything other than mindless repetition is weakness. Everything is blanket statements, nothing case-by-case. I am flattered by criticism from such quarters.

My positions aren't hard to understand, but that assumes you actually try to understand.

I prefer world championship matches to tournaments.
I prefer classical time controls.
I would like chess to become a serious professional sport.
I don't like screwing sponsors or players.
Signed contracts should be respected if we are to have any hope of becoming a professional sport.

When two preferences are in conflict one has to THINK. (This will be the hard part. I apologize in advance.) If you have one, massively overriding preference, such as "only matches are real world championships" or "whatever Kramnik says is right," life is easy. Anything that conflicts with these absolute preferences is attacked as heresy.

But I am not a jihadi. There are degrees and balance and nuance. I believe chess becoming a professional sport - and all that entails with sponsors and players eating, etc. is a high priority. To achieve this we cannot start screwing sponsors and players who have signed contracts. (That is has happened before does not mean it should be done as often as possible.)

When the format in the FIDE regulations for the final of the 2007 cycle was changed from match to tournament I was angry. I protested, I complained, etc. If you remember, I prefer matches. It is stated above and repeatedly confirmed here. Oddly, FIDE ignored me and continued onward. They found sponsorship in the millions from Mexico City for the tournament final. (Announced April 16, arranged earlier.) Good for them and the players. San Luis was a very nice tournament. But many still considered Kramnik classical champ and Topalov FIDE champ, for a reminder. At the time that was pretty much my opinion, although I considered Kramnik's title tainted by ten years without a cycle and Topalov's somewhat frivolous.

Ta-dah, unification match announced. (April 13, Kasparov's birthday.) Classical merges with FIDE, Kramnik faces Topalov. Winner is both classical and FIDE champion. Kramnik wins to become unified FIDE champion. End of schism. The FIDE champion, previously Topalov, now Kramnik, is scheduled to defend his title in Mexico in 2007. We all knew this. Kramnik knew this.

So here it is, big moment, that thinking part I was talking about. Preference for world championship matches collides with chess professionalism in the form of a unified title and signed and paid sponsorship and contracts with seven other players. Apart from trivial things like being sued for breaking contracts and other stuff jihadis don't care about, I still side here with unification and trying to get the sport back on its feet over my preference for matches instead of tournaments.

It's not even necessary to say that were Mexico hypothetical I would be lobbying for a match instead. This is because that's exactly what I did before unification and Mexico sponsorship.

It's matches, schism, and shafting sponsors and players versus tournament, unification, and signed contracts. If the only thing that matters to you is matches, your choice is made. I also wish crying "match match match!" made them happen. It didn't work.

A few separate issues to answer some of the bizarre misquotes and misinterpretations above. Unlike San Luis, Mexico is the end of a cycle. Zonals, interzonal, candidates matches. A little ragged at parts, but the first we've seen in ten years.

All this "play the Mexico tournament or we'll shoot your dog" stuff is terribly premature. Mexico isn't scheduled for another ten months.

Priority #1 should not be beating on Kramnik to play in Mexico. Priority #1 should be beating on Kirsan and giving carrots to Mexico so that their event can be fitted more or less comfortably into a classical format.

Give Kramnik first dibs on challenging the Mexico winner (if it's not him) to a WCC match. The Mexico winner would be a "pretend" champion for a year, much like Topalov after San Luis. If Kirsan won't negotiate an accommodation to the classical title, then it's time for Kramnik to head back out into the cold and stage his own qualifier.

Better a Kramnik-run "Legends of Carnegie Hall" qualifier ending in a classical WCC long match than a FIDE-run "American Idol" qualifying cycle ending in a non-legitimate WCC tournament.

An inclusive, democratic cycle is nice, but it has little or nothing to do with finding the best available Candidate. When is the last time a player rated outside the top ten made it through a FIDE cycle to challenge for the WCC?


According to Kirsan and the rules that Mig now religiously observes, Kramnik can defend his title any time against any over-2700 hundred player, provided they bribe FIDE to the tune of 20% of the total purse. That's the "CYCLE" Mig keeps talking about, along with the "CYCLE" provided by these unknown Mexican organizers of a tournament without any tradition or promise of future sponsorship. Neither situation is what a fair person would call a "CYCLE". But we already know that Mig is not very fair when it's time to defend his employer.

According to Mig, if Kramnik doesn't play in Mexico, we are back to fighting for sponsorship money. I've got news for him: if Kramnik DOES PLAY in Mexico, we are back to fighting for sponsorship money, too. Because there's no commitment from the Mexican organizers beyond this one-shot affair.

If FIDE is going to auction off the WC title, they might as well sell it to somebody with a respectable, established track record, like Linares or Chorus.

As it is, we don't even know who we are dealing with in these Mexican organizers. They could be angels or just Kirsan's latest blunder...

Well, that thinking thing only applies to nuances, but not to fundamental issues. For example, murder is wrong, there is nothing to think about the nuances whether the murder will be committed with a gun or a knife.

By the same token, for the vast majority of chess fans, a WC tournament is wrong, there is nothing to think about the nuances.

Just do the right thing, a WC match.

Also, the "match match match doesn't happen doesn't happen doesn't happen" is not quite so either. The matches and even the cycles did happen in Kramnik's case.

The first cycle was the Dortmund qualifier and the Brissago final match, perhaps not perfect, but proper.

The second cycle was the San Luis 'qualifier' and the Elista 'final match'. Of course, San Luis and Elista were not _labeled_ as such, but in effect, they were in substance and effect such events.

2 cycles including the 2 final matches in 6 years is quite adequate, there is no reason at all for killing the match tradition on this basis. On the contrary, that's precedences for the viability of cycles and final matches, at least in that form.

I trust that Kramnik with the Russian Chess Federation behind him will find the "common language with FIDE" including their Mexico venture.

I am positive that that common language would be better for chess than leaving chaos maker Kirsan on his own.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 18, 2006 1:41 PM.

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