Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Viva Mexico 2007!

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Hey, just in time for, well, not for Christmas. But I just put the 2007 World Championship website on the air and you get a sneak peek. It's mostly an empty shell right now, but it's a pretty shell, I hope you'll agree. Kudos to the folks at Freiland. We're filling it full of general interest content for the mainstream folks first, but we'll be hiring columnists and getting championship news and interviews very soon. ¡Ayyyiyiyiyi! Here's a shot of the Spanish version; you can pick which language you see the site in.

That's http://www.chessmexico.com, for the record. The tournament starts on September 12, 2007. Of course Topalov is still listed as one of the four qualified players and we won't know about that for another three or four hours. My main goal with this site once the event nears and starts will be the use of top-notch Flash video, nba.com style. Interviews, produced segments, the real deal. Sponsor Jorge Saggiante and his main main, GM Marcel Sisniega are the real deal themselves and are putting heart, soul, and muchos pesos into this. Not just the championship, but an entire year of tournaments and events offline and on. It should be great fun and great for chess promotion in Mexico and around the world. Real media relations, imagine! Real sponsors from the community and a real investment in chess in the community, not just the tournament. Exciting stuff. Don't forget to sign up for news and things. We have some cool contests coming up. The prizes include an expenses paid trip to Mexico City to see the tournament!


The Aztec (?) themed Knight looks neat. Wouldnt mind owning a t-shirt with that logo.

So you're working for FIDE?

Great job Mig! The website markets the tournament very well. I'm not kidding, just looking at it made me want to book tickets.

No, I'm working for Jorge Saggiante.

nice site mig.
Do you think Kramnik will actually play in the tournament?

nice site mig.
Do you think Kramnik will actually play in the tournament?

I see that Ruslan Kasimdzhanov of Kazakhstan is supposed to play the candidates. Now, we still don't know what happens to the candidate matches, but I still would like to know what happened to Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekhistan who was supposed to have that slot.

I hope this tournament never takes place as a 'Championship'. I do not wish the Chess World Championship title to die like that. Change it into a Candidates event!

Mexico City seems like a reasonable way to determine a WC challenger - just like San Luis. No reason why Kramnik - a real champion - should give credibility to that FIDE nonsense. In the meantime, it wouldn't hurt to schedule a match with Garry. Less BS and some truly interesting chess.

As a Topalov fan, I give my congratulations to the worthy winner Vladimir Kramnik!

Topalov was a great champ, taking on all challenges! But Kramnik is the man now and all Topalov fans, we should accept this new reality!

I hope Mexico proves to be so exciting as well!

$$$ for the Kramnik-Kasparov rematch. From Putin, of course. The longer the better! First to win 6 games? Fine. Kasparov's motivation to accept? Ask Anna Politkovskaya - but don't expect an answer by the usual channels.

Topalov could have won this match if there were not this stupid manager. Thanks to him, Veselin lost not only his title, but more importantly his reputation..If among the readers of this blog exist a Topalov's friend, who knows him personally, i urge him to advise veselin to fire this moron.

ps. Congratulations to a worthy champ!


I don't know if maybe that's what you were asked to do but the initial impression is that it's a tourist website for Mexico City with the tournament afterthought--have the chess pieces/board featured prominently, maybe at the top of the page. Just a suggestion, don't take it as a snipe.


To be clear, the 16 candidates pair off and play until 4 of them are left. These 4 will qualify to play in the 2007 Tournament, along with Anand, Svidler, and Morosevich.

Since Topalov lost, and by rule, out of the next cycle, who get's his spot? Anand, Svidler, and Morosevich are already in the tournament. Every other player from San Luis is already in a Candidate match. Does Leko get a pass and his spot filled by someone else?

Mig, what happens here?

Oh for God's sake, this is not going to be a "World Championship", just a really fine supertournament. A World Championship is one player trying to seize the crown from the one who holds it. You can't do that in a tournament, no matter what anybody says.

I hope that:

=> as expected by many, Topalov gets smuggled in by FIDE (which is against the rules)

=> Kramnik then declares this a candidates tournament for determining his challenger in a match

Go, Kramnik, go! Keep the match tradition alive!

Joshua, it's a challenger's tournament. It is to decide who plays Kramnik for the title in a match, hopefully...

How about having a world tournament champion and a world matchplay champion?

My proposal is this - a 2-year cycle. First half of year one - two elite tournaments - winner (or best placed non qualified so far) goes into the Candidates. Second half of year one - world tournament championship (winner or best placed non qualifier so far) goes into the Candidates. Loser of previous match goes into Candidates. 4-players in Candidates matches in first half of year two (semi-final and final). World matchplay in second half of year two.

We have a democratic route for the rapidly improving (e.g. Carlsen, Karjakin) - we have a route for the elite players who we know can actually mount a serious challenge (e.g. Anand, Leko) - and a losing challanger (e.g. Topalov) doesn't have to start from a long way back.

One key point is that the world matchplay champion is allowed to play in the elite tournaments and world tournament championship - and we re-use existing tournaments (e.g. Linares, Wijk aan Zee, Dortmund) who I am sure would be happy to become a candidates tournament as long as they don't have to rule out the world champion from their tournament. And FIDE gets to keep its world tournament championship - which it can then go back to Khalifman and have a line of winners in the past.

Try this for 2005 - your candidates are Kasimdzhanov (Tripoli), Topalov (Linares), Anand (Wijk aan Zee since Leko already qualified), Leko (loser in 2004). If Kasporov hadn't retired then he would have come through from Linares instead of Topalov.

Sounds like a simple scheme which produces good results! What do you think?

Mark, Kramnik takes Topalov's spot as defending champion. There are concerns that he won't play, or that if he does will say his title is not on the line, but those are separate issues in a way. According to the regulations Kramnik is now in Topalov's spot.

FIDE can make whatever they want to be their championship, btw. San Luis, Tripoli, whatever. San Luis was very successful, but mostly because Topalov ran off with it so clearly. I prefer matches. But this is going to be a great event and it has great local support, and good chess with big crowds is great no matter what you call it.

It basically is a tourist site for now, Yuriy, but I take your point. When we have chess content that middle section will be "chessy" and there will also be video. I'll ponder ways to get a clearer chess element in the initial page view.

Ok, thanks Mig. I apologize. I had it all wrong. I thought the tournament intself was a challenger's tournament.

So, the field is set. 16 becomes 4 becomes 8 becomes 1...

I signed up for the news and events (although my blog is already named like that).

Please remove Yugoslavia from the list, it died 3 years ago.

Teriffic hype, Mig; not just the site, but the way in which you promote it. It looks like you've taken a lesson from the NFL's playbook. Now you've answered your own jab about decent PR at the U.S. Championship.

As I always tell people, the secret of web promotion is to yell early, loud, and often, just like my girlfriend.

I'm behind the pace, Mig. I take it this is one reason for no sleep, and the other?!

A rook and a knight and a quarter of the chess board often does the trick. Maybe right above the stripe? The site looks beautiful!

This morning chessbase.com was non-accessiable for a short while, so is FIDE official WC site. You need to hire a competent IT team to keep the site alive. Tough job.

Couple of problems with a tournament model of this type (not that there wouldn't be problems with every model. Just feel that matchplay is more appropriate and carries a certain invaluable chess tradition).

1. In a tournament model you cannot count out pre-arranged games. What if in the 2011 tournament, before last round, Topalov and Aronian are tied for first with the former facing Cheparinov in his last round game? And before the game you see Danailov having that smug smile on his face. With good friends, potential seconds etc. playing each other with hundreds of thousands of cash at stake, you cannot rule out that human factor.

2. The tournament model clearly favours the more attacking players. The positional players like Kramnik, Leko, Svidler will always draw many games. If you have 4 swashbucklers and 4 conservative players, it's more than likely that one of the afore mentioned 4 will win it.
At matchplay we can see this fascinating contrast of styles. Capablanca-Alekhine. Botvinnik-Tal. Kasparov-Karpov. Kasparov-Kramnik (which I think was a fascinating match because of this contrast). And now Kramnik-Topalov.

If you switch to tournament model, this contrast will weaken. Would not be a good thing for chess.

And these matches for whatever reason seem to generate more public interest and raise more emotions, so the sponsors should be happy too. If only FIDE can eventually set up a good system and stick to it. Please let Bessel Kok run it Kirsan, and we may just turn a blind eye to the fact that you are a corrupted dictator.

(Not really..)

It's usually a thread/CPU problem. Event traffic is very difficult to handle and I've spend a lot of time watching server load balancers bend and break. Everyone coming in and launching an applet at the EXACT SAME TIME is brutal. We'll have a great hookup for Mexico and a separate balanced cluster for the video, but without spending thousands of dollars you're going to trash a few connections at game time. And you only need those thousands for around 15 minutes, so it's really rarely worth it. Of course you don't want total stasis like FIDE got. But stumping a few people for a minute or two is worth four or five grand unless you have unlimited resources. Should be okay.

Btw, nice coverage of the match Mig. It was crazy, and I don't care what anyone says - I think you were fair and sensible and did a good job overall.

Freiland sounds familiar. Did they do some other tournament site recently? I didn't know Mig spoke German.

Some posts above seem to be unaware that --

Kramnik is legally obligated to renounce his entire claim to any World Chess Champion title once the Mexico 2007 tournament ends; unless Kramnik wins the tournament (statistically unlikely).
This obligation holds whether Kramnik plays in Mexico 2007 or not.

This obligation was created when Topalov refused to play a title match with Kramnik, unless Kramnik first signed the contracts created by Kirsan to give Kirsan control of chess's historic WCC title.

Kirsan's intention is to eliminate the Match WCC title, and to replace it with a mere Tournament WCC title. Kirsan now has the legal power to do exactly that next year.

(If I have any of those above facts wrong, please let me know.)

The only way for us to defend the honor of the WCC title is for all bloggers like us to loudly refuse to acknowlegde Mexico 2007 beyond its role to produce a CHALLENGER for the next Match WCC title match. But too many bloggers agreed with Kirsan and Topalov re San Luis 2005, and so they will again with Mexico 2007.

Maybe we should appeal to the sense of honor in the people who are aiding Kirsan by organizing Mexico 2007. Is Mig helping to arrange Mexico 2007?

The only other way to defend the WCC title is for Kramnik to opt out of Mexico 2007. Kramnik would then be out of the WCC picture (probably for ever).
That would be too much for us to ask of Kramnik.

Gene Milener

Oops, I posted (above at Oct 14 02:00) by accident, I meant that for a different blog thread. Oh well.

Can someone explain to me why before Elista, Kramnik or Topalov could potentaially not even qualify for the candidates tournament even thought they are World Champions?

Why are players like Svidler and Morozevich directly seeded inside? Does Morozevich even have a top 5 rating? Who decided this list? Doesn't the Elista title now has almost no value if their privileges is the same as Svidler or Morozevich?

The match games are important for chess. People who do not see this think short.
A tournament like San Luis was just a tournament like many others (Linares, Wijk, Dortmund etc). There's nothing special about it.
Maybe a comparison to tennis can help. Twenty years ago they had the four major tournaments (Australien Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open) and they had the ranking list (comparable to the ELO list). The leader of the ranking was always seen as an important person as every winner of the four major tournaments was. Then they had the idea to make an ATP-Championship to crown a world champion, but even the players were not much interested in this. A Wimbledon win is always better than the win of a dubious title like that.
There were some wrong developments in the last years, like reducing the thinking time. Some people may think it makes chess more attractive, but it does not woork. Chess is a complicated game and you need some time to think about a position. You cannot blitz good moves, good blitzers only play second or third moves.
Mexico as a candidate's tornament would be nice, and the winner gets a shot in a match against Kramnik for the world title.

A question about the original Topalov-Kramnik-FIDE agreement: I know that the Elista winner (now, Kramnik) is supposed to participate to Mexico'07 and "defend" his title.

If he does not win the tournamet, does he get
an automatic re-match opportunity against the winner? Or, was this issue left open?

Thanks in advance..

Mig, thanks for a great coverage!


Topalov, Svidler, Anand and Morozevich qualified for Mexico 2007 by placing among the highest 4 in San Luis 2005.

Topalov "lost" his spot to Kramnik by losing in Elista, but I can bet my house that FIDE will let their guy sneak in anyway.

Maybe there's a way for all to keep their face: Kramnik declines to play in Mexico, that spot is given to Topalov and the winner plays a match against Kramnik. Pretty simple actually...


Sure, but why would a guy like Danailov want to keep THAT face?

[Regarding: acirce at October 14, 2006 08:04]

"Topalov, Svidler, Anand and Morozevich qualified for Mexico 2007 by placing among the highest 4 in San Luis 2005."

This is a bad way to grant slots to these bi-annual tournaments. It blocks out other new talents to an excessive degree.
Maybe the top 1 finisher in San Luis 2005 should get an auto slot in Mexico 2007; but top 4 is too many and it smells nepotistic.

A better way would be to earn a slot by winning one of the major annual tournaments; like Wijk an Zee or Dortmund or Linares etc. That would be much more fair. It would avoid seeing the same old faces in every candidates' cycle. And it would add prestige to those tournaments: those tournaments would really matter for something beyond their own prize money.

Gene Milener

[Regarding: Chris B at October 14, 2006 10:31]

"While on the subject of Euwe-Alekhine, the myth that Euwe was generous in granting Alekhine the rematch in 1937 dies hard. I heard with my own ears Euwe say in a radio interview in 1972 that a rematch clause was written into the contract for the 1935 match."

It is unfortunate that Kramnik has signed to play against a computer between now and Mexico 2007. These computer matches were interesting for awhile, but their appeal is waning.

Before Mexico 2007, I would rather see Kramnik offer an extra Match World Chess Championship title match challenger to a player of note who is unlikely to ever get a title shot otherwise.

In consideration of 1998, A.Shirov could be one sentimental example. However, it is unlikely a Kramnik-Shirov WCC match would generate any more sponsorship money than Shirov already rejected from Kasparov's challenge offer in 1998; so presumably Shirov might again reject the offer.

J.Polgar could be another entertaining option, perhaps capable of generating media attention.
In these "extra" WCC title matches, there is no ethical pressure limiting offers to only the strongest challenger.
However, it seems like IF Judit P. were offered a challenge match before Mexico 2007, that it would be reasonable to impose on her the condition that Judit would therefore renounce her participation in Mexico 2007; so that someone else could have a chance too.

I predict these extra WCC challenger offers will become more common as we let Kirsan wreak his havoc on the proper tradition of using only a long match to transfer the WCC title (by our spinelessly accepting the Mexico 2007 tournament winner as the new match WCC). Neither Kramnik nor Topalov has a better than 50% chance of winning the Mexico 2007 tournament, simply because there are so many other top 10 GM's in that tournament.
So the WCC title holder will want to squeeze in an extra WCC match to make some more money, before the next FIDE Champ tournament likely takes away his title.

Gene Milener

Mexico will be a gerat chess tournament but it will not be where Kramnik defends his title this is very clear from his views - he will not defend his title in a tournament. I think its true that Kirsan prefers the tournament format for WCC. However despite his money and control of FIDE behind him he has not over these years succeded in imposing the tourney model on WCC. I see no reason why he would succeed over the next few years.

Incidentally all calls for a Kramnik Kasparov match appear quite doomed. At the London chess centre a few months Kaspy very forcefully ruled out any possibility of a match irresepctive of the money. For him his future is elsewhere and suggestions he would return in any professional sense to active chess playing are for him potentially quite damaging to his endeavours. Uh Kasparove is still really just a chess player etc. The good news is he outlined an extensive and exciting set of chess books he is writing and planning

Where all the info about WCC reglament and regulations can be found? Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 13, 2006 8:06 AM.

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