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Chess in Space

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Proving that he is none the better for his recent car crash, FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov's latest interview is par for the course. That is, a course that zig-zags all over the place before careening off a chasm. The road less traveled here would be that of common sense. If we continue to torture this metaphor, the chasm would be the dark place where nothing has to be explained or justified. Why, Yuri Vasiliev of SportExpress asks, do we need a new layer in the 2011 candidates cycle out of nowhere? Oh, wait, he doesn't ask that. He just asks when and who, and lets Kirsan fill in as he likes. All the explanation we get is:

But time does not stand still, times change. And FIDE must adapt to the requirements of different times.

Times must change pretty damn quickly, since the last cycle changes were made less than a year ago. What conditions have changed? Why is a new event being added and why now? He goes on:

We have retained all our democratic traditions in the qualifying system: 128 players from all countries may compete in the World Cup, the highest-rated players play in the Grand Prix, and the Candidates tournament adds those who are still outside the world championship system. For example, Vladimir Kramnik, if Russia decides to be the host country.

As the saying goes, no matter how cynical you are, you can't keep up. So, he wants to include those who are "still outside the world championship system." Did somebody close entry to the World Cup and not tell anybody? And I'm sure it's just a coincidence he plumps Kramnik's name. When this was first reported I cynically suggested that the only reason this event would appear so suddenly was if it was a push from somewhere ready to make it happen, for example, Russia, who might name, for example, Kramnik, as the wildcard. For example.

By the way, I'm looking for a source and/or better version of this image or one like it from the 1986 WCh match, the first half in London. Corbis and Getty don't seem to have any of this match with the players with Thatcher. Thanks.

From the stiff poses, there must be an anthem playing in this one. Either that or it's from Madame Tussauds.


Mig, look at Eric Schiller site, he has a different pic of Thatcher with K and K.

Browsing on my phone, I only saw Kasparow and Thatcher, and my first Rorshac-like thought was: Shotgun wedding!

Once again, it's time to remember that professional chess players have no moral right to complain about Kirsan giving it to them in the ass for as long as they keep taking his money. That's the nature of prostitution, isn't it?

Client provides the money, prostitute provides the ass.

Classy Irv! I hope you have never complained about your employer, as this would define you according to your own (fairly low) standards.

Nice way to put it, Irv, but in this case Kirsan is not the customer but the pimp, who sells his chess pros cheap to his friends, when they would prefer him to build up brand recognition and quality services.

Quely wrote:

"Classy Irv! I hope you have never complained about your employer, as this would define you according to your own (fairly low) standards."

Just the opposite, Quely.

I will not accept anyone exploiting or manipulating me in exchange for money or favors. I'm not a prostitute.

Are you, Quely, a prostitute in your own life?

That's a personal decision that everyone has to make. Including professional chess players.

Quite right, Irv! If they don't like it, then can start their own world chess organization!

Oh, wait..

Talking about prostitutes: I find pretty embarrasing the way chessbase has not pointed out how unfair and ridiculous this new system is.
They are really losing whats left of their dignity standing behind this load of dirt.
Almost every other site is filled with complaints about this system .

What I tried to say is that the world is never that black and white, even for chessplayers... I see now that your world is. I hope that works for you.

Manu, have you been reading Chessbase for long? They've just done what they always do and posted what was said, rather than expressing any opinions. It's quite sufficient to show up Ilyumzhinov for the man we know and love, in the same way that the best response to Danailov and Topalov over "toilet-gate" was just to publish verbatim what they said.

Iv been reading chessbase since before San Luis, and i have seen them trying to manipulate public opinion in many sad ways.
But in this case is very dangerous because to the common reader it may seem just another change in the candidates system when is not like that at all.
They have devaluated the effor of many players just to push Kramnik into the cycle.
IMO chessbase seem to publish verbatim but they do try to push his asociates in every way.
Remember last time there were changes in the system?
They went on and on about how dificult to understand that was ,and how strange was that Topalov got another chance etc .
This time they are publishing this like a crystal clear announcement of our beloved FIDE president.

Say what you will about Kirsan, but the New WC Cycle plan is not bad
at all. Clearly it comes out of dire necessity to please the latest
set of unhappy folks. And I have the feeling that these are not some
powerless people... Anyway, but it also promises to resolve a bunch of
the issues that tore the Chess Title to pieces in recent years. The
only clear losers are the Grand Prix folks who have a lot less to play
for under these conditions. It will be interesting how they market the
event. But beyond that, it is clearly that Kirsan is being pulled very
hard from all sides and like a good politician he tries to give each
something to appease them. Perhaps that's the only way run that


How you explain FIFA then?
And i have a suggestion of how to market the Grand Prix:
A ride full of surprises ! jump in!
Lots of candy!Winning is not everything!

I don't think it makes much sense to argue about this new cycle being good or bad. At the current rate it's likely to be changed several times before 2010, anyway. So, in the unlikely event that this candidates' tournament is ever going to be held at all, we can predict with almost certainty that the format will be different from what Kirsan has just announced.

Changing the rules all the time is the root of all evil, because it gives players reason to feel cheated and lose respect for the cycle, which in turn urges them to drop out and/or demand new changes. Not only do the Grand Prix players have reason to feel cheated. The same is true for the next World Cup winner, not to mention Kramnik. Why does the loser of Topalov vs. Kamsky get special treatment, and not him? Even Anand has reason to be unhappy. What looked for a brief moment like a unified championship with clearly defined rules, is now looking increasingly like a new mess that will only get messier.

*** And as fear and anger prevail once again in the Chess Universe, many players will feel the increasing temptation to play on the dark squares. Listen, if you dare, to Darth Kirsan's evil giggle as you await the next episode of... Chess Wars! ***

ManuU: How you explain FIFA then?

FIFA has a Tournament at a predetermined date. All parties start equally and qualify equally. Only the Champ and the Host Teams get a free entry, but not directly to the final... I'm sure you know that, but I'm just repeating it for those who might not.

Unfortunately, as I have been written many times before, (some in) Chess have this silly obsession with the match tradition, which is the root of all of the problems. It even created such strange phenomenon as a special purpose, "match strong" players…

Matches were easier to organize during the Romantic Age of Chess because they involved two players. At that time it was a matter of a necessity. Plus the governing body hadn't gained much traction yet.

Today the times are different, but we still try to combine both systems and end up with a crazy Tournament+Tournament+Match thing... No wonder they can't market all of these pieces because they make amazingly little sense.

But yet again, we're dealing with Chess people, most of them are wonderful folks, but don't make much sense off the board at all..


"But in this case is very dangerous because to the common reader it may seem just another change in the candidates system when is not like that at all".

But that's exactly what it is. Another half-baked proposal overturning a previous, also half-baked, proposal. The idea that there's any sensible system that players expected to be honoured, which this then destroys, is nonsense.

"They have devalued the effort of many players just to push Kramnik into the cycle."

Huh? The most obvious thing this does is guarantee Anand, Topalov and Kamsky special status, whatever happens in the upcoming matches. Surely you should be happy Chessbase isn't going into any more detail about that? Kramnik's outside chance of a wild card, based on a whole series of conditions (and presumably only suggested as Kirsan was talking to a Russian journalist), is not the story.

It's noteworthy that Kirsan uses Kramnik as an example. However, there are several natural reasons to think about him first, and that do not rest on conspiracy theorizing. First of all he is simply the most high-profile name who does not already have a guaranteed place in the Candidates Tournament unless he is World Champion by then; Kirsan is speaking to a Russian journalist who presumably wants to hear a Russian name; also Kramnik's not in the Grand Prix and has not confirmed World Cup participation so at the moment it's not clear that he'll even be in the system at all, etc.

The new change clearly gives new privileges to a couple of players, and clearly takes away rights from a whole lot of others. Yes, obviously IF Kramnik is the lucky one who gets the wildcard (and accepts it), he benefits from it, but it's not exactly like it's an obvious fact that he will. And if he does not get the wildcard, he joins almost everybody else in the world in losing from it.

chessbase is a for-profit entity, surely you can't expect so much altruism from it

acirce, do you really believe what you are writing? "conspirazy theorizing"?

people who CHOOSE not to participate in some event - and kramnik/topalov/moro (keep whatever you like) was/is invited to both the grand prix 2008/2009 and the wcc 2009 - such people are NOT outside the system. they just choose not to participate.

both you and mig should read my latest post in the other thread about the same topic:


"The new change clearly gives new privileges to a couple of players, and clearly takes away rights from a whole lot of others."

it's worse than that, and i guess you know, acirce. it's a clear contract breach on fide's part. i know first hand that participants of the current grand prix were hesitant to enter with the existing prospects - the winner gets to play a semi-final for the world chamionship.

now, the winner isn't one of two, but one of eight - and he must face lots of strong players that previously were already eliminated.

for instance, assume one of aronian, carlsen, radjabov or wang yue wins the grand prix. when they signed, emerging the winner meant that they would face at most ONE of kramnik, topalov, anand, morozevich and ivanchuk before they could play for the world championship - NOW, the winner potentially has to face ALL FIVE of these top notch elite players.

"takes away rights"? it changes everything, acirce. i didn't know you were a defender of corrupt incompetency - has that changed lately?

this is the worst and most hopeless thing fide has done regarding the world championship in this millenium. it's a giant scandal, and people who try to defend or "explain" or make things look better than they are, simply make me angry, acirce.

and the general assembly shouldn't even be allowed to vote over stuff that the fide representatives haven't been informed of before they go to a fide congress. there was no crisis with the current wc cycle that in any way makes the current "proposal" adequate.

try reading this very sensible proposal for the current fide congress, acirce - i don't know the outcome, but since it was a sensible, well thought-out proposal, sent out in advance, my guess is that it was voted down...


You didnt understand the nature of this changes.
Topalov and Kamsky are not the most interested persons on this system , in fact one of them might be defending the title at the end of this charade!
Understand this , they are included into this scheme just to balance things up.
Ask Topalov or Kamsky if they agree with this thing (Topalov already stated that he doesnt).
While some people complains about the evil Topalov , Kramnik is being seeded to this tournament by force and again without qualifying , thats whats happening.
The only thing that gives me some joy of this is that theres no chance in hell that Kramnik wins that tournament.He never qualifyied for a single WCH match and never will .

frogbert, I don't know what you are talking about. I don't even really want to reply to posts consisting of silly, completely unjustified comments such as "i didn't know you were a defender of corrupt incompetency - has that changed lately?" I have not in any way defended this latest cycle change, and won't start now. You know well how you react over at chessgames.com when people use the same means against you that you are doing now. Grow up.

Once again Manu talk rubbish. Where does it say that Kramnik will automatically play in this setup. Nowhere.

Once again you cant read , at all.

It's not rubbish, but an educated guess.
Of course it's only a speculation but Mig's conspiration theory is based on

a) even if you assume the changes themselves are sensible, there is no reason why they had to be applied to the current cycle;

b) Kirsan's not-so-subtle hints in the Vasiliev interview: "...the Candidates tournament adds those who are still outside the world championship system. For example, Vladimir Kramnik, if Russia decides to be the host country."

If this system favours one player it's Topalov. His loss to Kramnik qualified him for a candidate match. If he loses to Kamsky he'll be rewarded with a candidates tournament.

"The only thing that gives me some joy of this is that theres no chance in hell that Kramnik wins that tournament.He never qualifyied for a single WCH match and never will."

I wouldn't bet on that.
The proposed tournament includes 2 lottery winners from the World Cup, and 2 Grand Prix leaders, currently Wang Yue, Gashimov.
So it may be a whole lot weaker than for example Nunn's proposal - take the first 8 from the ranking list.

And there is another gem hidden in the details, not mentioned in the interview:

"It approved a Candidates tournament ... in two formats for the organizer to choose from:
a./ an eight-player round robin tournament or
b./ knock-out matches of four games for the first and semifinal rounds, respectively and six games in the final match. "

Just in case anyone else was wondering why Kirsan seemed to be saying something different to the FIDE announcement it's just that the Chessbase translation is careless:

"The eight Candidates will include the winners of the World Cup and the Grand Prix, the loser of Topalov-Kamsky and the runner-up in the World Championship match. To them will be added the highest-rated players..."

It should say something like "two winners each from the World Cup and the Grand Prix", and later the "highest-rated player". So it's just one player based on rating.

Re: Chessbase & Manu's conspiracy theory. He obviously missed this from their article (as I did!):

"It would seem that Kramnik can only get in by way of the Grand Prix or the World Cup; or by being the highest ranked player in the world in 2011; or if the match is in Russia and he is nominated by the organiser. Carlsen and Co. will have to slug it through the Grand Prix and World Cup."

So Chessbase did react sceptically and use some of their reserves of irony on Kramnik. Though of course Kramnik's opportunities are essentially the same as "Carlsen & Co.". I suppose Carlsen was chosen as being from the country least likely to raise the cash for the tournament, but Norway's an oil-rich country with more money than it knows what to do with - and has perhaps the most marketable player in the (Western) world.

Yep ,in theory any country can raise the money, but dont forget that Russia has an almost religious bond with chess.
Norway offer would have to wait for the result of the current Grand Prix,that is because Carlsen is not out of the Prix yet(with chances of winning it).
If every country involved is not allowed to make the offer at the same time then is not very fair at all.
And because of this i ask u : which country can start arrangements right now?
I dont consider this a conspiracy theory because they are simply doing this in the face of everyone..
But anyway , want conspiracy ill give u some:
Do you recall of Kramnik ever being critical of Putin ?I dont:)

Mig, Kasparov's book Two Matches (in russian) has similar photo, just slightly at a different angle. (probably you knew that :)

excellent content, acirce. you dig into one single comment that you find offensive, and spends your entire post on that, claiming nonsensical stuff that my entire post consists of "silly" comments about you and irrelevant "parallells" and false assumptions of "my" hypothetical reaction. very big. very grown up.

the recent "change" to the wc cycle doesn't ask for "not being defended" by you, acirce, it asks for you to attack it vigorously.

if you don't realize now, then you will probably realize later, when the consequences of fide's latest "twist" starts to become visible to everyone.

one more (probably vasted) piece of factual information: the governing body of the regulations of the grand prix 2008/2009 isn't the general assembly (ga), but the presidential board. the introduction of the candidate thingy CHANGES the regulations of the 2008/2009 grand prix, as published on fide's site:


what's _your_ take on that, acirce? (please keep to the subject if you choose to reply - if you simply want to tell me how stupid i am, then just send me an email).

"the governing body of the regulations of the grand prix 2008/2009 isn't the general assembly (ga), but the presidential board."

that wasn't very precise, actually. what i meant and should've said, was this:

"the body responsible for any changes to the regulations of the grand prix 2008/2009 isn't the general assembly (ga), but the presidential board."

fide remains the "governing body" of the entire fide 2008/2009 grand prix, naturally, but the responsibility of _any changes_ to the grand prix regulations seems to be shipped off to the presidential board.

FIDE can't even reliably organize any of the individual 'components' that feed into the tournament (or matches) for determining the candidate. Any gaps caused by a failed feed will have to be filled in with ad hoc provisions, oh wow.

Oh but for God's sake, frogbert. I think this cycle change is scandalous. I have never ever in any way implied anything else. I don't even know what you are objecting against. Why I didn't "dig into" the parts of your post that were not attacks on me is partly because I mostly agree with them.

Yes, it calls for all of us to attack it vigorously. So what? Why you chose to jump on me in particular and insinuate that I don't understand how wrong it is is simply incomprehensible. I don't know if you are so angry about FIDE's actions that you can't think straight, or if something else is wrong, but you are behaving completely irrationally.

I might go into one not that important thing though, where you make it seem like we are in disagreement but in reality we are not, because you can express the same thing in different ways: you can say Kramnik is inside the system _because_ he can still play in the World Cup, or you can just as well say he is outside the system _until_ he chooses to participate. If you want to argue that the first way of putting it is more correct, I won't object. It was clear from my post anyway that I know Kramnik does have the choice.

"The body responsible for any changes to these Regulations is the FIDE Presidential Board."

Good find, thanks.

acirce, it's great that we're basically in agreement. that's all i care for right now. ok?

Very good to hear, frogbert. What's done is done, now you can start focusing your energy in the right direction.

>I don't think it makes much sense to argue about this new cycle being good or bad. At the current rate it's likely to be changed several times before 2010, anyway.

Exactly ! "He who pays the piper calls the tune".We won't be even over with our futile debates on "fairness" when Kirsan will concot another scheme (schem which of course will instantly advantage some and fault the rest and trigger a fresh wave of accustions).

And why should one care anyway?
Does anyone here really believe that at this moment in chess history there is a player who who significantly better than the rest of Top-10 ? and who is therefore frustrated by FIDE from receiving the official acknowledgement which he rigtfully deserves ?

It just doesn't matter who is said to be "the best" at this point, it ain't any, and the situation will likely remain so for the next 5-6 years. Enough time to reasonably hope for a more successful car-crash.

Hah, just try telling chessplayers world is not so black and white.


Yuri Vasiliev is to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov what Sean Hannity is to George W. Bush, the ultimate sycophant and propagandist.

Ovidiu wrote:

"He (Kirsan) who pays the piper calls the tune"

That says it all, Ovidiu!

Chess pros can cry and protest all they want, but at the end of the day, they go back to their sugar daddy. Even Kasparov played Kirsan's skin flute when he thought the suction would result in a shortcut to a championship match. He washed his mouth and cursed Kirsan ONLY after it became apparent that Kirsan was just jerking him around.

Same story with Renteros in Linares, etc.

"Does anyone here really believe that at this moment in chess history there is a player who who significantly better than the rest of Top-10? and who is therefore frustrated by FIDE from receiving the official acknowledgment which he rightfully deserves?"

The player who's even slightly better than the rest of the top ten deserves to be World Champion.

The old-fashioned long-match Candidates playoffs gave a superior player ample opportunity to demonstrate his superiority over the other top players.

But Kirsan wants no part of any system which might provide undisputed credentials to a strong champion. Kirsan prefers ever-changing mini-match tournaments and whatnot. He doesn't want a strong champ who could hijack the title, preferring to have fans of Anand, Topalov, Carlsen, etc. crowing that their man is on top of the live-ratings list for a week or so.

well, to be fair, who is the ultimate propagandist for Kasparov then? :-)

irv, and ovidiu,

you are both missing an important part of the chess reality here. the fact is that for the very elite players, say the top ten roughly (with some additions and exceptions for personal popularity reasons), kirsan isn't vital at all for their everyday job and their income.

the (few) players that can expect to be regularly invited to corus, linares, amber, bilbao grand slam, dortmund and so on, aren't in kirsan's pocket. they don't really need the money from the wcc or candidate events and similar.

this group of players happen to be the same group that constitutes the hottest candidates for becoming world champion - and if we forget about some "knock-out champions", all title holders have been part of this group of players that don't really depend on fide's MONEY.

in fact, the only thing they need fide for, is if they want to become world champion and be accepted as such by fide. however, my educated guess is that the one thing that fide will accomplish if they continue with amateurish stunt-decisions like the one we're discussing now, is to downplay and devalue the "world championship" title itself.

if the young, rising players experience that deals made with fide aren't worth a penny, giving them essentially no protection against totally changed terms, my advice would simply be to forget about the "stupid world championship title". they mostly earn the big money elsewhere, anyway, and accepting commitments that might end up more or less worthless compared to the initial deal, isn't very tempting.

hence, it IS serious, when we currently have a scenario where fide thinks they have to set laws and regulations aside, in order to please certain groups, while at the same time they are giving most of fide's near future (like aronian, carlsen, karjakin, radjabov, mamedyarov and wang yue, all present in the grand prix, all being victims for the recent charade) a real kick in the ass, essentially telling them that contracts with fide don't matter - they will be changed in retrospect anyway.

"thanks for accepting the invitations to our new grand prix event, filling up your tournament schedule and closing doors for other attractive events, but we decided to serve the old-timers that didn't sign instead - you can fight in 4 long events for 2 years all over the world for 2 spots, while we give away 3 spots for nothing (2 losers in previous cycle, 1 organizer), add 1 rating qualifier (which one of you might be eligible for, but we couldn't tell you at the time you agreed to your commitment, haha) and generally make you look like fools for trusting us in the first place."

hopefully a couple of players or more in the grand prix will have guts to speak up against this utter nonsense, and show fide that a broken contract is a broken contract. even more telling would it be if some of the players clearly being favoured by this recent change - the only three we know by name for now, are anand, topalov and kamsky - would say that "we don't want this special treatment, it's not fair towards our colleagues".

here, for instance kamsky can choose to take the role of american hero, or he can choose to play the role of one that was muted into accepting wrong-doings against his colleagues. kirsan's play is based on people being selfish most of the time, instead of being principled and hence do what they consider to be right.

in short, neither the grand prix participants nor the trio of kamsky, topalov and anand should accept fide's latest ploy. and if fide doesn't get back (?) to reason regarding the world championship cycle 2008-2011, then i wish that grand prix participants will abandon the entire thing. and kamsky, topalov and anand must speak now, not later, when the outcome is clear to everyone.

Mig wrote:
{zig-zags all over the place before careening off a chasm. The road less traveled here would be that of common sense.

By observing Kirsan a more apt phrase would be "roadless travel".

I thought acirce was a good Kramnik a** kisser, but it appears he is not only good, he is excellent at the matter. It's pathetic to see the poor guy crawling every fora available trying to rationalize everything concerning his love and master, Kramnik.

Thank you frogbert, you just gave him a good lesson!

there is no hostility between acirce and myself, bowler, and i had no intention of give acirce "a lesson".

my aim is to point at the current wrong-doings by fide, and so far, kramnik is still only a theoretical benefiter from the new turn-around.

the three already-known benefiters are kamsky, topalov and anand. i'm currently waiting for the first kamsky/topalov/anand fan to say that their hero shouldn't accept any such special treatment at the cost of other hard-working colleagues of theirs.

i'm afraid i might have to wait for a long time...

Frogbert wrote:

"the fact is that for the very elite players, say the top ten roughly (with some additions and exceptions for personal popularity reasons), kirsan isn't vital at all for their everyday job and their income."

Not true, as evidenced by the quick collapse of the GMA.

Every professional player needs FIDE, FIDE's money and FIDE's tournament sanctioning. Even the best player ever, the wealthiest and most powerful, Kasparov, eventually knelt before Kirsan & FIDE.

BTW, Kirsan is NOT the only maligned client/patron/sugar daddy. Professional chess players have, at various times and places, complained of abuses by Renteros (Linares), Kok (Wikanzee), etc.

Chess is NOT popular enough to generate the income that top players think they deserve for their efforts. It's a free market thing, you know?


i could answer along your lines, something like this:

"not relevant, as you're assuming i meant something else than what i did".


"wrong, because you lack information that i have."

instead, try considering this:

1) the top players don't need FIDE's money
2) the top players don't need the world championship title or cycle to earn their living

that you mention kasparov as your prime evidence, simply shows that i'm right: the only thing that kasparov didn't have (at that time he "knelt"), was the world championship title lost in 2000. he didn't do it for the money or his pay-day, but to get that title back.

whether or not there exist other purses or not that the top players depend on (you mention linares and corus), is sort of beside the point - it's got nothing to do with fide politics per se.

i didn't suggest that anyone should leave fide and stop entering all fide rated events, or whatever nonsense one might think of. fide is nothing (for future sponsors) without their top players, and hence the top players should do something in order to grab some power back. to do that, they need to think and act collectively, or they will be easy prey for all kinds of petty games, based on exploiting selfishness.

i don't think you have no point at all, the problem is rather that you have only one point, and that you want everything to fit with that one point of yours. i think i read somewhere that you meant people are free to choose whether to remain "prostitutes" or not, by the choices they make. your demagogical "if you want to live from chess, then you must take it in the ..." doesn't precisely depict the entire truth and range of options.

more than that, it's completely destructive - what do you want the young grand prix participants to do? shove the chess board and pieces and enter college? or do you have a remotely constructive suggestion?

Frogbert wrote:

"more than that, it's completely destructive - what do you want the young grand prix participants to do? shove the chess board and pieces and enter college? or do you have a remotely constructive suggestion?"

Entering college is not a bad idea, even if you think otherwise.

Smart people go to college. No-so-smart people think they have a good shot at making a legitimate living from chess. 99% of the ones choosing chess are never able to make a decent living from the game.


Frogbert wrote:

1) the top players don't need FIDE's money
2) the top players don't need the world championship title or cycle to earn their living"

Most of the top players don't make enough money (while at the top) to have a decent life once the invitations dry up. You should think about that one...

Chess players don't die at 40. Their careers do. Yes, they keep playing, but the meaningful money is no longer there.

And, yes, there a few exceptions, but the rule is that chess, even at the very top, is not a financially rewarding endeavour for the overwhelming majority of players. That's why shady characters like Kirsan, Chernenko (Kmaski's pseudo-manager), Campomanes, etc., can hijack the system so easily.


thanks for positioning yourself so clearly here. you see no future or purpose in professional chess, for anyone, basically. your constructive proposals follow accordingly.

regarding the point of entering college:

personally i've got the equivalent of a master in computer science (and then some) after 5+ years at the university, i've got a wife with a phd and a post-doctoral research position at the university here, and i've got a fide rating just above 2000, so in my case (and in my family) college/university made a lot of sense.

that doesn't mean that magnus carlsen should forget about chess and become more or less a standard academic like myself.

Frogbert wrote:

"that doesn't mean that magnus carlsen should forget about chess and become more or less a standard academic like myself."

I never said anyone should do anything in particular. All I said was that professional chess players can't complain about Kirsan abusing them and the system for as long as they are willing to take his money.

You don't need a Ph. D. to understand that :-)

and i say that they should say no to that money, or rather, the world championship title, if fide remains unserious about how to stage the events in the wc cycle.

i'm sure a player like carlsen can do perfectly fine without fide's money, as can ivanchuk, aronian, topalov, anand and kramnik, for instance.

again, it's not about kirsan's money or the money he provides to fide. it's about fide in several areas being run in an unprofessional way.

When will everyone get some b*lls and dump FIDE? When pigs fly? When hell freezes over? When they stop taking FIDE bribes....? Oh yeah...

I have a conspiracy theory.

One moment the camp Kamsky are making all these possible threats, refusing to play in Bulgaria, blaming FIDE, standing behind their bogus Chernenko(sp?)-offer, and then just two or three days later *SNAP* they have suddenly fired the manager, and are ready and happy to agree to the Bulgarian proposal with no pre-conditions involved.

Or are there? Kamsky, the more than 90% likely loser of the match, now gets a second chance a year later. That will give him a year more time to get his openings upto date and guarantees him a fat extra paycheck, unfairly, and for no reason at all. Only on Kirsan's say so.

They couldn't have done this publicly, because it would have violated the rights of the other players. So instead they agree to it in secret. And then Kirsan, in his role as the president, puts it forward as a "general plan".

While in fact we are talking about a compromise here.

We can't know for sure, and nobody will tell, but I have my suspicions!


it's hard enough reading book-length posts without having to deal with caplessness.

is it an artistic statement, or doesn't your keyboard have caps?

roflmeow, nobody can know anything, but I have not really seen a more plausible explanation. I do not believe that FIDE honestly and genuinely sees this change as a good idea as such. It is very likely done to serve the particular interest of someone or someones, the tough question is about the details.

As it favours Topalov just as much, it could also be a "reward" to both of them for coming to terms. He also already has a history of being granted big gifts by FIDE the last couple of years, so it would be nothing new.

Looks like Kasparov and Thatxher getting married- who would rule that household? Interesting thought!


cHesshire cAt,

i fInd tHese iNnovations aNnoying aNd tEdious. pUtting a fEw cOgent iDeas aNd sEntences tOgether sHould bE iNnovation eNough.

I don't know about other people on this forum, but I hadn't even noticed that frogbert does not use caps! At least to my eye, lack of capital letters is far less annoying than excessive (chesshire cat) or 'intentionally wrong' (Greg's latest post) use of caps. And the topic is important enough that we shouldn't get lost in such marginal issues ... .

That's true, Thomas. FIDE is eagerly awaiting the results of our discussion, after all, let's not get sidelined. Look on these little interludes as seasoning for a heavy meal..

"And the topic is important enough that we shouldn't get lost in such marginal issues ..."

".issue marginal" a not it's, posters fellow our to consideration of mark a is read to easy and clear are that posts write to time the taking.

I concede that the present sideline is fun, in spite of being quite irrelevant, so I continue a bit just for fun. FIDE may actually learn something from our discussion: Isn't it high time to enforce consistent rules for notation of games?? Personally I still use the German system, so Queen-Rook-Bishop-Knight (Q-R-B-K) is D-T-L-S (Dame-Turm-Laeufer-Springer) on my forms. The only difference with the Netherlands where I am now living and playing chess is that a knight is a horse ("paard") around here.
International chess literature (Informator, New In Chess, ...) uses symbols of figures instead - but this would be very hard to enforce and lead to disaster in time trouble.

BTW, greg koster (sic!): Shouldn't this be Greg Koster?? Many other people also use small letters, but it is a bit odd that you deny 'extended' liberty to frogbert while applying 'certain' liberty yourself. I really do not care, though I would wonder about the persons blogging as GREG KOSTER or gREg kOSteR .... .

"BTW, greg koster (sic!): Shouldn't this be Greg Koster??"

Hey Thomas, at least he uses his full name, unlike you, me, frogbert and a gutless majority of forum posters. And I choose to remain gutless -- how about you?

Kirsan said:
... spring of 2010. The eight Candidates will include the winners of the World Cup and the Grand Prix, the loser of Topalov-Kamsky ...


Kamsky won the prize of a major semi-final match (against Topalov, 2009/Feb) where the winner gets to challenage Anand for the world title.

What is the justification for subsequently gifting one of the precious few 2010 candidates' slots to Kamsky if/when Kamsky loses to Topalov?

I see no justification, or am I missing something?

If Topalov somehow loses to Kamsky, yet Topalov is gifted with a 2010 candidates' slot (as Kirsan is now promising), then I ask --- What has Topalov won (since San Luis 2005) to earn the free 2010 birth? Won some tournaments yes, but so have many other players.
Topalov might gain a birth from his high rating, but that is a tangent to the nature of Kirsan's latest promise.

Am I missing something?

A virtual kittie treat for you, roflmeow!

When something unexpected happens, it's only because we don't know the subtext. Kramnik and Topalov agreeing to an unconditional match for a title with an expiry date and the desaparecimiento of the loser? Kirsan must have assured them he would take care of them, and he did.

Third and fourth from 2005 San Luis going to the next world championship? FIDE thought they had Russia lined up to run the next one, but that fell through. Notice that in 2008 the Russians need to come up with the actual sponsorship before Kramnik is allowed to compete. Call it an insurance policy.

Why did Campomanes negotiate such a generous power- and revenue- sharing arrangement with the GMA? Because, in his heart of hearts, he knew that Kasparov couldn't bear to share power with his GMA colleagues. Campomanes in his heyday was a GM among negotiators. Incidentally, is Kasparov's treatment of the GMA ever brought up by critics when he paints himself as the great hero of democracy? Hmm, since having been a senior KGB officer isn't a problema for Poutine, perhaps Kasparov should use reverse psychology and strut his Shiva-like qualities. It worked with the chess players of fsyekh stran, why not for the proletarii of Russia?

I like the idea of the wedding photo. Karpov as Father of the Bride. Lothar Schmidt as Usher. There is no Best Man because Kasparov is always the best man. And there is no Clergyman because only God Itself could approve such a union.

HI guys I actually like the new proposal partially. Only two things need to be changed.
1.I can understand why looser of Anand - Topa/Kamsky match gets entry but dont understand why looser of Topa-kamsky match gets entry. Also
2. There should not be a wild card entry for the host country. Try to persuade those guys who organized the Anand Kramnik match in Germany. These two deletions can be adjusted by additional entry from Grand prix and rating list.

Actually it would be nice to organize a tournament with Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Radjabov, Leko, Wang Yue, Aronian and Jakovenko, and call it a world championship (winner will get a free sandwich at Mc Donalds). Then organize a bughouse league with Topalov, Kramnik, Anand and Kasparov, organized by Kirsan with ten million dollars for the winner of the match and automatic qualification for the next bughouse tournament until the end of times.

(ten million dollars are shared equally between the four bughouse experts, which goes withoug saying. Guess you folks got it naturally.)

greg koster,

the lack of capitals used to be a signature thing for "frogbert". never thought of it as particularly artistic, but personally i find it preferable to all CAPS anyway. and it actually speeds up writing, if we're going to start talking about functional aspects. if it slows down you're reading, that might be a counter argument. implicit "complaints" that my posts are too long, doesn't increase the chance that i'll take your advice on capitalization, though. :o)

on a more serious note, it's rather likely that i'll wrap up the points i consider most important in the recent fide charade and turn that into an article in my chessdom column. the latter has been utilized less than originally planned anyway, and this seems a good occasion to publish something.


if the recent proposal was a fruit of a sincere wish to change something for the better, then someone might had interest in considering your two points.

at the moment, the two points you want to throw out, both are essential to there being such a proposal in the first place. without those two points, this would never have surfaced at all.

the reason i'm referring to it as a "proposal", even if it's technically (according to fide) the way it WILL be - a done deal - is that this thing probably was thrown together in a hurry. i've got reasons to believe that the presidential board and/or kirsan didn't even run it through their lawyers before presenting it to the general assembly (outside of any agenda, without any pre-warning, on the last day of the sitting).

that might become rather interesting, if most lawyers will consider the current changes to the grand prix 2008/2009 regulations a breach of contract with the grand prix participants. knowing the size of typical prize money in a world championship final, this might end up pretty expensive for fide, unless they choose to take a step back.

in my simple mind, i consider it obvious that fide has broken a 20-ish number of contracts, and my hunch is that they did so even without the needed legal consultancy.

I don't consider it to have anything at all to do with gutlessness. I think it is the natural and logical way of dealing with a web personality, and in fact I find it odd that anyone would use their real name on the web and I find it annoying when posters harangue others about not using their real names. I don't hide my identity, and people can find out who I am easily enough. There are many reasons not to use a real name on the web, but for me it basically comes down to the fact that I am a slightly different 'person' on the web than I am in real life, giving different answers and perspectives and more blunt opinions on things than I do in real life. Also, my web identity happens to be quite accurate, as I am a chess lover who travels a lot, thus 'knight_tour' is appropriate, and it also identifies both my email address and my web blog. So, I would ask people to stop harassing those who don't use their real name on the web; I think we are more in line with the spirit of the web than those who do use their real names!

@ Mig and the Ninjas

The Ivanchuk story with his missed doping test gets really serious lately!

It might sound like a joke, but it isn't one.
(2 big german newspapers reported about it, and they never report about chess usually and they too would not report about it, if it wasn't serious/official.)

As things seem to turn out, Chucky will be banned for 2 years from all FIDE events.
And Ukraine will lose all match points (with Chucky being involved).

So in the end the "new" final list of the Olympiad will be:
1. Armenia
2. Israel
3. Hungary
4. USA

(Russia still don't win anything...)

As you might have realized, the US-team will lose their medal!

Criticizing FIDE for their new world championship cycle is one thing, but how are you going to react now?
Looks like this is the biggest upset in the chess world ever!

Banning Ivanchuk for 2 years is 1000 times worse than any olympiad medals scenarios. Ivanchuk is one player we don't want to lose. The rule on doping tests should just be dropped- don't pay lip service to such ludicrous rules as the enforcement of it can catch you out as here.

In this particular case, no one is to blame but Ivanchuk.
Still, would be sad if FIDE "sticks to the rules" for the first time in the last God knows how many years and that results in banning Chucky.

"Ivanchuk is one player we don't want to lose."

Which does not mean the rules don't apply to him.

By participating Ivanchuck agreed to the set rules. He openly flouted them. It can be no surprise at all if FIDE comes down on him like a ton of bricks, no matter if the rule is dumb or not. If such a high profile player can get away with it what hope have FIDE of enforcing their rules in future events? Or of retaining any (limited) authority they still possess? In any case banning one of the strongest and most popular players would be another great achievement towards ruining chess and getting more bad press, so I'm sure they will press on with it.

Btw I'm sure there was a thread on this already but what drugs can enhance chess play? Amphetamines I guess? How many rating points can I gain? Where do I get them?

Shirov is the best!

Fire on FIDE!

Open letter from Shirov concerning the Ivanchuk case - chessbase.com has it.

Clubfoot, The issue of posting anonymously or not has in the meantime already been adressed by knight_tour. I disagree on his point that it is 'odd' to post with one's full real name, but otherwise I think it is everyone's personal choice.

As far as I am concerned, my posts are 'semi-anonymous': Thomas is my true first name, and those who happen to know me personally should be able to decipher 'who I am' based on some information I provided (German living in the Netherlands, rated close to 2000, other hobby athletics). frogbert has provided some similar personal information.

But to the rest (presumably 90-99% of all readers), giving my last name would not have any added value. OK I was curious and googled "Greg Koster chess" - the only additional information I could find (on chessbase.com regarding the death of Bob Wade) is that he is from Chicago and does not (or did not mention) an IM or GM title ... .

Generally concerning this forum, only for a few people it might make a difference knowing their true identity - this list (presumably incomplete) includes Jonathan Berry, Mikhail Golubev, Daaim Shabazz ... and Mig who does not even need to give his family name ,:).

And all this is at most marginally related to the pro's and con's of capital letters.

Kudos to Ivanchuk for finally challenging this stupid rule. I'm sure he did that not because of his rebellious nature, but rather because he was mighty angry after losing to Kamsky. Rules are rules, but this rule should go and Ivanchuk should stay, not the other way around.

Raffael is wrong on the chess coverage in Germany. Frankfurter Allgemeine (which is being quoted by the other news media for breaking the story, while it really has been a German arbiter blogging on the Olympiad with Chessbase.com adding on Spassky´s role) has published about forty chess related pieces throughout October and November.
In my understanding it is not the FIDE President or Board that will make the verdict on Ivanchuk but five members of FIDE´s Medical Commission who will have to hear Ivanchuk first. Any revision of the final results will probably have to wait for their decision as well.
I think all members of the Hungarian team (who didn´t play a good Olympiad, facing only two other top ten teams and underperforming by rating) would be embarassed to take the Bronze from the admirably fighting US team.

Usually we are angry at FIDE for violating their own rules. Now we should be angry at FIDE if they do _not_ violate their own rules? I am not so sure about that logic. Rules are rules, even if we don't like them - indeed even if we hate them. That said, I can imagine that Ivanchuk may be able to argue that there are mitigating circumstances. I don't know, but it has turned into quite a dilemma for FIDE.

You assert that posting surnames will offer no "added value" unless the poster is somehow important to you, after which you admit cyber-stalking Greg Koster; here you place emphasis on the absence of a chess honorific as "additional information I could find", but in actual fact it's something you didn't find but mentioned anyway in order to diminish the value of Koster's posts on this forum.

So there's no real need to post your surname, is there? You diminish your own value just fine without it, without even recourse to the clumsy tribute to imposture and dishonesty offered by Knight Tour.

(At http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=5047 )
Shirov wrote:
"... giving the direct seed to the loser of Topalov-Kamsky match seems totally senseless ..."
Echoing my earlier point exactly.

"За отказ пройти допинг-контроль Василию Иванчуку грозит дисквалификация.


Как сообщил вчера корреспонденту "СЭ" президент ФИДЕ Кирсан Илюмжинов, лидеру мужской сборной Украины Василию Иванчуку грозит двухлетняя дисквалификация за отказ пройти допинг-контроль после заключительного, 11-го тура Всемирной шахматной олимпиады в Дрездене.

Илюмжинов также сообщил, что все партии, сыгранные Иванчуком на Олимпиаде, будут аннулированы и в результат выступления мужской сборной Украины в соответствии с этим внесут изменения. Команда Украины лишится Кубка Гаприндашвили, который присуждается по итогам выступления обеих сборных - мужской и женской. Этот кубок будет передан команде Армении.



"For refusal to undergo doping control Vassily Ivanchuk faces disqualification.

Ukraine will be deprived Cup GAPRINDASHVILI

As reported yesterday, the correspondent "SE" FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the leader of men's national team of Ukraine Vassily Ivanchuk faces a two-year disqualification for refusing to undergo a doping control after the final, the 11 th round of the World Chess Olympiad in Dresden.

Ilyumzhinov also said that all parties, Ivanchuk played at the Olympics, will be canceled and as a result of statements by men's national team of Ukraine in accordance with that will make the changes. The team lost the Cup of Ukraine Gaprindashvili, which is awarded on the basis of statements by the two teams - male and female. This Cup will be handed over the command of Armenia.

Yuri Vassiliev"


Problem: at present, FIDE and Ivanchuk can't both exist in the chess world without one doing apparently irreparable harm to the other. In this mutually exclusive situation only two options exist.

Solution #1: Get rid of Ivanchuk. This is FIDE's idea.

Solution #2: Get rid of FIDE.

I vote for solution #2. Hopefully this harm would be genuinely irreparable.

Clubfoot, you (deliberately?) misunderstood me. IMHO, Greg Koster's posts are as relevant or irrelevant as my own. As a general rule, the content of comments matters more than 'who wrote them'. Concerning frogbert (singling him out because he was the initial reason for the entire 'off topic' discussion), his education and salary do not matter at all - as far as I am concerned, I would not evaluate his posts differently if he was an unskilled worker in a grocery store!

In the present doping discussion, some pro-Ivanchuk posts could (theoretically) be written by Ivanchuk himself using a different name, or some anti-Ivanchuk posts by a member of the Hungarian team eager to receive the bronze medal. As long as the arguments make sense, I don't care!

Now to explain the added value under some circumstances: When Jonathan Berry discusses the role of an arbiter (and the merits or not of some new FIDE rules), it is relevant information that he is an international arbiter himself. When Daaim Shabazz is critical of the Jamaican team about the forfeit incident, it becomes even more credible knowing that he generally sympathizes with Jamaican chess. And the most recent example: Stefan Loeffler wrote: "I think all members of the Hungarian team ... would be embarassed to take the Bronze". He can say so because he is a strong player (presently rated 2411) and presumably knows some Hungarian players personally. An ~2000 patzer like I am could only write "the Hungarians SHOULD be embarassed" or "if I was on the Hungarian team, I would be embarassed".

And no, I do not consider it cyber stalking to look up Stefan Loeffler's rating on the Internet (I knew the name, but wanted to check just how strong he is to give correct information) or to google for Greg Koster. It was his choice to post with his name, he knows that search engines exist, so I do not consider it immoral, let alone illegal to use them.

P.S.: Actually I do not have an opinion on frogbert's posts, and am unsure what to say about the Ivanchuk doping case (see also my next post).

As promised in the previous post, just a little bit on the doping case. I agree that banning Ivanchuk would be a loss to chess in general, but I would also agree that it is his own fault - particularly because not only FIDE officials, but also Ukrainian team members tried to pevent things from happening the way they went.

Two years ago two 'weak' teams (Papua New Guinea and Bermuda) were sanctioned for one player refusing doping tests. I did not check the archive, but as far as I remember this did not lead to a nearly as heated and as intense discussion as the Ivanchuk case. Maybe Ivanchuk thought 'this will not happen to me because I am a VIP' ... and was wrong. Similarly, in early discussions on the forfeit rule, some people argued 'they certainly will not forfeit Kramnik or players of similar strength'.

As the Ivanchuk case appears not yet decided, I still hope for some sort of compromise - Ivanchuk giving formal excuses and maybe accepting a certain money fine, and in return FIDE should allow him to return to the world of chess. But then whoever is next to refuse a doping test knows what the consequences can be, and that noone can claim special treatment.

Where do you come off calling me dishonest (and 'imposture'- whatever that is supposed to be)? I come here precisely to BE honest, and there was nothing in my post otherwise. You are simply being rude for no reason.

Hopefully the system of the world chess organization better and can be a place or facilities for the entire world of chess players.
no more disunity.
differences in opinion, is beautiful.

I'm never rude for no reason, nor do I need a reason to tell the truth. It's all in your words.

I have always said that there was nothing broken about the old world championship cycle until Kirsan fixed it.

When this present charade is complete, either by producing a world champion (Anand, Topalov or Kamsky) or by collapsing financially, can we just go back to that?

In politics, I am a democrat, but a chess champion should be a king who proves his worthiness in hand-in-hand combat; the world championship match should be a less lethal version of the contest in Diana's Wood described in Frazier's The Golden Bough.

What is this nonsense about giving an opportunity to players outside the cycle? That's what qualifying events and zonal tournaments were about. In the beginning, no player is outside the cycle, but most will be eliminated quickly; that still didn't keep Bobby Fischer from playing in the Portoroz Interzonal at the age of 15 and earning a place in the Candidates' Tournament the following year. The kid got there because he earned the right to be there by playing better chess than his opponents.

Let's bring this back.

"I have always said that there was nothing broken about the old world championship cycle until Kirsan fixed it."

If YOU were running around for three years without a head would you consider yourself broken?

"If YOU were running around for three years without a head would you consider yourself broken?"

To what are you referring? Do you think that three years between championship matches is too long? Perhaps it could be cut to two, perhaps, but it couldn't be an annual event and still have any meaning. For that, we may as well go back to the Knock Out formats and hold one annually. FIDE may have chosen to call the winner of each those things world champion, but I never did.

"Kirsan wants no part of any system which might provide undisputed credentials to a strong champion. Kirsan prefers ever-changing mini-match tournaments and whatnot. He doesn't want a strong champ who could hijack the title, preferring to have fans of Anand, Topalov, Carlsen, etc. crowing that their man is on top of the live-ratings list for a week or so."

Now we agree. An undisputed world champion is exactly what I want to see. You just can't say "Khalifman" in the same breath as "Lasker" or "Alekhine" or "Tal". Consequently, not only should the champion prove himself against the challenger in hand-to-hand combat, but the challenger must earn his right from the current cream of the crop, a select group established over the board. That is what FIDE was establish to ensure, and that is what FIDE provided from 1948 until 1998.

"The real reasons behind the World Championship Cycle changes"


has everyone seen the latest article on chessdom with the above title? it basically says that the entire grand prix system is falling apart, with montreux also pulling out - and they are hinting that karlovy vary might also pull out (even though they stated the opposite during the recent olympiad).

personally, i react very strongly to at least one sentence from the latest chessdom report:

"The Grand Prix is under the exclusive control of Global Chess, financed by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and David Kaplan, and FIDE has no influence on this segment of the WC cycle."

it's not perfectly clear to me if this is the view of chessdom or simply something that their anonymous source claims. i think it's sort of blurred, but my guess is that this stems from their source.

the above looks like an attempt to place all blame for the grand prix problems on geoffrey borg and global chess, making fide "innocent" - and hence fide's only role here will be that of the "savior" that gets things back on track. however, if one reads the regulations of the grand prix, one will soon realize that fide has lots of influence on the wc-cycle. see for instance paragraph 1.4 and what it says:

"1.4. The body responsible for any changes to these Regulations is the FIDE Presidential Board."

alas, the board, not global chess. also, note the following, in paragraph 1.2:

"For the purpose of creating the regulations, communicating with the players and negotiating with the organisers, the President has nominated a committee, hereby called the World Chess Championship Committee (WCCC) who will co-operate with Global Chess BV."

hence, the fide committee wccc has a clear responsibility for the relationship to the organisers, according to the grand prix regulations themself, created by fide. pretending fide has or had no influence on the grand prix part of the cycle is simply rubbish, the way i see it.

i have to add that the sentence i originally reacted to, now has been shortened in the chessdom article. currently it's been moderated to "The Grand Prix is under the exclusive control of Global Chess, financed by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and David Kaplan."

hence, nobody is any longer (publicly) claiming that fide has/had no influence on the grand prix part of the wc-cycle. i still think saying that the grand prix is under _exclusive_ control of global chess at most is formally correct - after all its regulations mention several "interference points" with fide. lastly, note that global chess is actually owned by kirsan, so the fide president (privately - without the president hat? semi-formally?) still has major _influence_ (control?!?) of the grand prix.

It's pathetic to see the poor guy crawling every fora available trying to rationalize everything

Some time ago, I really needed to buy a building for my corporation but I did not earn enough cash and could not order something. Thank heaven my dude proposed to take the loan at trustworthy bank. Hence, I did so and used to be satisfied with my financial loan.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 29, 2008 12:10 AM.

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