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More FIDE Shenanigans

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FIDE did not a moment to steal the thunder from the Olympiad players. I'd say you wouldn't believe it, but of course you would. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has just announced a change to the current WCh cycle, the one in which the Grand Prix and World Cup winners would play a match to face the world champion. But Ilyumzhinov isn't happy unless he's doing something to something and staying the center of attention. So, as ChessVibes reports, he has created a candidate's tournament out of thin air, instantly reducing the value of the Grand Prix and World Cup. The invitees: 2 World Cup finalists; top 2 Grand Prix scorers; loser of Kamsky-Topalov; loser of Anand vs Kamsky/Topalov; world #1; and, best of all, a 2700+ organizer invitee.

Whew, thank goodness. FIDE was in danger of coming close to a transparent and honest system after the last of the corrupt special matches finished in February with Kamsky-Topalov. But no! The favoritism safety nets are back, with a revenue-generating wildcard spot too. Stability and transparency are back out the window. Topalov is a fabulous player, no question. Love him. But criminy, was San Luis 2005 a lifetime pass? I suspect that Ilyumzhinov wouldn't have added this event if it weren't already close to a done deal somewhere. (It won't shock if that place is Russia (or Bonn or Dortmund) and the wildcard is Kramnik.) Perhaps someone could risk His Majesty's displeasure and ask the simple question: "Why?" The short answer would be "we can't have the players deciding who gets to be world champion, can we?"

Meanwhile, GM John Nunn has revamped his proposal for a WCh system. Match final, great. But I'm not sure why he assumes nationality is the only motive for collusion in a candidates tournament. Money is a good one, too. Candidates matches! And while I think it's okay to include an "inactivity penalty" in rating, an activity bonus looks deeply unsatisfactory and vulnerable to manipulation. We don't need even more numbers to distract us. We don't need to reward the guy who plays more, just make sure everyone plays enough. Make the world championship about WINNING WHEN IT MATTERS. Not about what you did three years ago, or how many points you got beating weaker players, or anything else.


For those new to chess, FIDE is an acronym which stands for: "Federation of the Incompetent and Delusional Egomaniac"

Wouldn't it just be simpler for FIDE to state: "Any seven players who best suit our needs (i.e. wallet) plus Topalov?"

Candidates TOURNAMENTS are for finding out who's the best at beating #6, #7, #8. (See Larsen, Bent)

Candidates MATCHES are for finding out who's the best at beating #2, #3, #4, (i.e., finding out who's the best player).

Holding a TOURNAMENT qualifier for a wcc MATCH is like _________.

Considering all of the problems in funding the Kamsky-Topalov match, do you think it would be easier to fund a bunch of Candidates matches? I think the tournament idea makes sense. And instead of doing it by ratings (like Nunn suggests), have a big Swiss tournament for qualification (I think that's how they used to do the Interzonals).

And what do you mean by money being a factor for collusion? Do you mean prize money or do you think players would actually pay other players to lose? If the latter is the case, than chess has a lot more serious problems than I even thought.

They don´t want the players getting much attention of the media.
Its like they are blocking the way to the sponsors, maybe because if real sponsorship ever comes to chess they would lose they jobs (and some of them their freedoms).

I have a simple solution for all these problems and confusions:

Announce Toplav as the lifetime FIDE world champion (just like Ilyumzhinov who is the lifetime FIDE boss) and let the rest of the chess world play their normal tournaments and enjoy.

Who do I call to get into the championship tournament as wild card? A number, Mig? How much does it cost? Anyone recommend a good book on the Petroff?

greg koster | November 25, 2008 4:46 PM | Reply

"Candidates TOURNAMENTS are for finding out who's the best at beating #6, #7, #8. (See Larsen, Bent)

Candidates MATCHES are for finding out who's the best at beating #2, #3, #4, (i.e., finding out who's the best player)."

Bent Larsen never won a candidates tournament. Mikhail Tal, Vassily Smyslov, David Bronstein, Tigran Petrosian did, along with (as a practical matter) Topalov and Anand.

It wasn't a full cycle, but Alexey Shirov also qualified for a title shot by beating Kramnik in a match. I don't think he was one of the top three players at that time, but that doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with holding matches as qualifying events. Both methods are equally valid (concerns of collusion notwithstanding).

"Money" is a keyword.
Maybe the abrupt changes are neither because of some dark Russian conspiracy, nor from our lovely Mr. Sunshine himself, Silvio Danailov, but just because of financial problems?
The global financial crisis is there, Bahrain tournament just has been canceled (due to money problems?!).
The world cup system is very large and therefore expensive, it is much cheaper to organize only one tournament instead.

Topalov incidentally was also against a change of the system (as you can learn in his interview with Susan Polgar viewable also at chessvibes).
I don't think any player is direct or indirect responsible for this new FIDE plan, it's all about money baby!

Could some of the FIDE GP participants sue FIDE for this?


"The world cup system is very large and therefore expensive, it is much cheaper to organize only one tournament instead."

That's not what's happening. They are keeping everything in place from before, and adding an extra event.

LOL. That's exactly what they deserve, but it's unlikely to happen.

Larsen won that the 1967 Interzonal tournament handily, scoring +12 against the bottom 17. Against the other top five finishers, not so hot:
versus #2--lost
versus #3--drew
versus #4--drew
versus #5--lost

You CAN win a TOURNAMENT without being the being the best player in the room. You CANNOT win a MATCH unless you're the best player sitting at the board.

greg koster

I disagree. I don't think Shirov was stronger than Kramnik, Kramnik stronger than Kasparov, or Euwe stronger than Alekhine (or Alekhine stronger than Capablanca, etc. etc.). What you're saying is that in any given match only one player has a chance of winning it, which is absurd.

"You CAN win a TOURNAMENT without being the being the best player in the room. You CANNOT win a MATCH unless you're the best player sitting at the board."

Not necessarily. There are such things as idiosincratic (any such word?) opponents due to style differences, which may lead to the better player getting knocked out long before reaching the final stage of the cycle.
Tal was almost certainly stronger than Korchnoi but had a massive minus score against him (and technically this is understandable). Geller was no match for Fischer in terms of overall strength but usually came out on top in their individual clashes. Today, Shirov is probably a little weaker than Topalov but for some mysterious reason has a huge plus against him (including a win in this very Olympiad!) Not to mention the most extreme example, Kasparov vs. Gulko.

I agree that a tournament is not the perfect measure of a player's strength, but I always wonder why the so-called "tradition worshippers" have such a blind faith in the results of matches (especially the rather short ones we are seeing today). As always when human beings are concerned, even when playing a strictly mathematical game such as chess, it's VERY hard to claim that absolute truth is in our grasp...

I also don't know why you're bringing up interzonals when we're talking about candidates tournaments, check my list from before and tell me who think the players that were stronger than the winners were.

Raffael, you must be from a non-Eastern European country. I would be happy to make a bet with you that Mig's "conspiracy theory" is true.

I don't even know if the WC is relevant anymore.

Let's face it: before the era of ELO ratings, it was the primary way of establishing who was the best player in the world.

After 1970, when ratings were adopted, the WC became increasingly irrelevant, but that irrelevance was masked by the fact that the champions *also* tended to have the highest ratings, usually by a wide margin. Fischer, Karpov and Kasparov were all dominant, so they had both the rating and the title. That gave a false legitimacy to the title, since it "confirmed" what you could have deduced from the ELO ratings anyway.

Nowadays, though, we have a "first among equals" situation. Anand won the match, but it's not clear he's any better than the other members of the top 6. For instance, is Anand stronger than Topalov, who outrates him by a few points? Probably not.

I'm not saying we should do away with the WC--it's a fun event and provides lots of drama and media attention. However, practically speaking, as a way of determining the strongest player in the world, its usefulness is largely ended. And maybe it's been ended for a few decades, and only now do we realize it. That's why I can't bring myself to care much about Krazy Kirsan's latest shennanigans.

The whole match-vs.-tourney question boils down to the fact that "chess strength" is not a well-defined concept. We like to pretend that it is, but it's not.

Some players are stronger in matches, others are stronger in tourneys. Some have "dark horses" that consistently beat them, and only them. Some players are stronger psychologically--but this is masked if they only ever play in tournaments (since a match is more grueling). Some are better at beating weaker or stronger players.

The WC only measures a subset of these different components of chess strength. Somehow, we have decided that these factors are the most important in judging a player's strength. But that decision is arbitrary.

One can argue forever whether Shirov, Kramnik, Euwe, and Alekhine were stronger than Kramnik, Kasparov, Alekhine, and Capablanca, respectively, at this or that time period. But as Mig says, it's about WINNING WHEN IT MATTERS and there's no argument that when it mattered, the former were stronger than the latter.

Who was stronger than the Candidates Tournament winners? Keres, for example, lost the candidates tournaments of '56, '59, and '62. A close look at the crosstables, however, suggests that if candidates matches had been played in those years, no one would have had a better chance of winning than Keres.

Again, "best" is not a well-defined concept, for several reasons:

- "X beats Y" is not a transitive property. Some people have "customers" that they always beat.
- Matches are a measure of psychological fortitude, stamina, etc. to a greater extent than tournaments.
- Why is "beating a closely matched player" a better measure of your strength, anyway? It seems intuitive, but there is realy nothing to support it. "Easily beating weaker players" may be considered just as valid a measure by some. For instance, I consider that Morozevich is no weaker than Anand, even though he would likely lose a match to him.

That is a very interesting point, macuga. I have had some of the same thoughts as well, though I hadn't been able to put it in such a long hitorical perspective.

I agree, as well, that the WC is more a question of pride perhaps now than a proof of who is the strongest. It also shows some extra qualities that don't necessarily show up in the ELO rankings, which are the special "match" qualities, such as preparation, psychological strength, etc... Having a WC tournament would be completely pointless now that the reunification has occurred, since it doesn't evaluate anything different than what any other supertournament does. That is another reason I do not like the qualification tournament. If the point is to see who has these extra qualities, then by all means let us find out by way of matches, not tournaments.

Bloody hell, this is incredible. Mig is spot on in his analysis.

Do you think that nobody wants to pay for WC qualifying matches, only the WC match itself holds the value? Fine, I can believe that. Are you afraid that World Cup v Grand Prix winner will produce not_so_hot final? Could be too. Ok, suppose you must have the final qualifier in the 8 plsyer double round robin format. Suppose you are afraid that you might get less than a stellar field if everybody has to qualify for the final 8 in some particular tournament.

Why then, don't you bloody take the 2 top finishers in Grand Prix, top 2 finishers in World Cup and 4 top rated GM at some fixed well defined point in time close to the actual final 8 tournament? But no, that makes too much sense. Instead, let's just include 4 people that won something 10 or 5 years ago and compliment them with GP and World Cup winners. I wonder why they bother to play GP and World Cup. They just as well could have selected Pono, Khalifman, Kasimdzhanov and Aronian and save the money on GP and World Cup. Who cares about them anyway?


the usage of rating as qualification criteria, or even criteria to decide who "the strongest player" is, is something i'm in favour of, in principle.

however, there are several things that needs to be improved, not so much with rating system essentials, but regarding how games/events are played _and_ rated.

some concerns:

* comparable activity among the top players

[the rating system is not independent of number of games played, and if the difference becomes huge, it becomes a notable uncertainty]

* comparable types of tournaments played

[for ratings to be as good a measure as possible, _all_ top players should play a reasonable mix of closed round robin events, team events and possibly some open event as well. if some player almost exclusively play sub-2700 opponents, and another almost exclusively 2700+ opponents, the basis for their ratings become quite different and hence say something about different things (ratings in general only say something semi-certain about your strength against the kind of opponents you actually play). hence, some "quotas" for various types of events (or opponents), in order to be included in official top lists, would make ratings more comparable among the top players, even without touching the basic formulas.]

* rating of events needs to be predictable

[at the moment, the us has two 2700+ players. imagine that there were some benefit linked to being above 2700 in the latest rating list - the official october one. nakamura is currently 2704-rated in fide, but he could just as well been rated 2695, having played exactly the same events at exactly the same time, and there is no rule in place to make these things predictable.

nakamura finished the montreal event well before the deadline for submitting rating reports for the october list. i've seen no notification anywhere saying that the montreal event would/will not be fide-rated. to the contrary - i was personally informed by nakamura himself of his participation there, supposedly so that it could be incrementally rated for the live rating list.

it's the organizer's responsibility to send the rating report to fide after an event. in fact, at the moment, fide prefers fide-events to be pre-registered on their rating server, possibly to reduce the chances for "creative" reporting. however, the organizer has 60 days (!) after the completion of the event to submit the rating report. (it was 30 at one point, but raised to 60 again, for inexplicable reasons).

this means that theoretically most of the events can be rated in the current or the next rating period at "random" - or after detailed planning - by an organizer, or some "coordinated" organizers. after all, one rating period is only ca 90 days. if the organizer fails to report within 60 days, he will be fined. but so what?

in the case of the montreal event which i used as an example, it's still not anywhere to be found on fide's web pages, under "tournaments registered for january 2009", even 2,5 months after it finished. did the players and organizer agree not to rate the event after all, for some reason? (nakamura has repeatedly referred to another event (in the past) where he gained rating points, but where the report never was submitted and his games rated, btw.) will fide ever ask for the montrela rating report if it won't be submitted? does fide care for when a rating report is submitted, as long as the (ridiculously long) 60 day period is respected?]

the unpredictability of when (and if) an event will be rated, is actually a major weakness with how fide's system is being used at the moment. it also allows for more types of manipulation than what i've mentioned here, too.

ps! regarding the montreal event, it's perfectly possible that it has been submitted to fide already, but that for some reason it hasn't been added to the tournament report overview. the point here, is the lack of transparence and predictability in the process. anything sounding well-known about that, ref. the world championship cycle(s)?

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov,offered Fischer an Island to live in,when the latter was running from pillar to post,for a nationality. Kirsan is a magnanimous person!


That's pathetic, absurd. Since when flukes and formalisms have become more significant than consistency and intrinsic, genuine, worth ?
Being WCh means dominating the field by a clear edge, means winning most of the times.
As Jan Timman has it, we are waiting for Magnus Carlen to grow up, take over "kasparov-like", and implicitly "save us" from these neverending and pointless debates.

In the Olympiad press conference with the German teams, one journalist asked Naiditsch "what are you still missing to get a rating above 2700?". Any hidden intentions behind this question? Would Germany think about organizing the WCh qualifier if they had a 'local hero' who could participate?

Of course I am only joking, and maybe trying to show how absurd the local hero privilege could be.

Its funny isnt it though Greg that based on your criteria, Kramnik is by no means a strong player? Did you forget to fine tune whatever you say with that objective in mind?


"I disagree. I don't think Shirov was stronger than Kramnik"

"One can argue forever whether Shirov, Kramnik, Euwe, and Alekhine were stronger than Kramnik, Kasparov, Alekhine, and Capablanca, respectively, at this or that time period. But as Mig says, it's about WINNING WHEN IT MATTERS and there's no argument that when it mattered, the former were stronger than the latter."

Haha.. Gotta love this guy. Greg arent you becoming a little nonsensical ever since your prayer to a higher power for Kramnik to win a coupel of games http://www.chessninja.com/dailydirt/2008/10/wch-08-g11.htm went unanswered?

How do you reconcile the two comments?

"Its funny isnt it though Greg that based on your criteria, Kramnik is by no means a strong player?"

How do you define 'strong player'? In any case, Kramnik had also his share of 'winning when it matters' against Kasparov, Leko and Topalov.

Of course, Shirov rather than Kramnik should have played against Kasparov in the first place. And for the Kamnik-Leko match, 'winning when it matters'refers basically to the last game - when a win was needed to draw the match and defend the title according to the agreed rules .... .

And Greg's public prayer was of course obvious and intentional nonsense ... as some other commments on this blog from time to time (no, I don't bother to give examples and names).

People you are being robbed , your friend Kirsan has opened a new backdoor
for people who don't deserve to play for the title.
Because , lets face it: If this wildcard cannot get to this tournament by his own ,why would we need him there?
It doesnt matter who this benefits , the thing is that this little president is taking whats left of pride in the game.
For first time in a while , the moment has come when no Russian player has a secured chance to the title.Oh but wait a little, Kirsan will fix this.

Sorry 4 double posting , but :
Wouldnt be awesome if FIDE gave every journalist a rubber stress figure of Kirsan everytime an announcement is made.
So you can squeeze his disgusting smile every time he pushes chess away from fairness.

Honestly Mr Koster, you usually talk so much sense... but this is all wrong

What Topalov has done to deserve a better deal than Kramnik?

Topalov is just the decoy , this about bringing russians back into the game.
Topalov already has the destiny in his hands, this is for Kramnik.

It's not correct that "Tal was almost certainly stronger than Korchnoi". The only thing Tal did better was to win a WC once (although some could argue that Korchnoi's reaching the finals twice is comparable). But in terms of overall career performance, Tal is not better than Korchnoi.

"How do you define 'strong player'?"

Please read my comment. Its not my definition, its that of Koster.

"And Greg's public prayer was of course obvious and intentional nonsense ..."

And your point is?

henry: "The only thing Tal did better was to win a WC once (although some could argue that Korchnoi's reaching the finals twice is comparable)."

I dont think so. Winning that WC once after full qualification is something that only a few could do. The whole point is, you go through a rigorous, multi tiered qualifying cycle and then play the incumbent "best player". Once you win through, you truly are the best in the world. Korch failed twice at the final hurdle. If you argue for example that Korchnoi reaching the final twice or Bronstein reaching the final and drawing with Botvinnik was comparable with Kramnik winning a match against Kasparov that he disqualified for, yes, I would agree.

I don't know who you are disagreeing with.
I think you missed my point completely.

Notice I said: "the only thing Tal DID BETTER".
So I personally agree in that respect he did better.
But ... only in that respect :-).

But my big point, that you missed, is that the overal career performance of Tal is not better than Korchnoi (responding to somebody who said otherwise). There is also the overall career performance to be taken into account.

In the cases of Capablanca, Fischer, Karpov, or Kasparov, for example, there is no question. They are both WC and the dominating power through a significant period of time. They are true champions.

However it is different from say, Tal or Anand who did win a WC but didn't actually dominate, unlike the true champions mentioned above. Tal was 1st ranked (rating-wise) but only for about 3 years. Anand only for about 2 years, and only by a thin margin, and that only after Kasparov left.

I have to add:

To be fair to Tal, during the period he dominated, though it was short, he did so with a wide margin rating-wise). Also we should remember that Tal's health was often poor. Some might still argue that at his best, though it was short, he is a true champion.

Greg Koster said:

"if candidates matches had been played in those years, no one would have had a better chance of winning than Keres."

I don't think so.

In 56, Keres only drew against the leaders, and Smyslov won more mini-matches.

In 59 Keres did beat Tal, the winner, but he lost against Petrosian, so if they had a match system and he'd met Petrosian in a match before Tal, he still might've been kicked out. Besides, Keres (unlike Tal) could not beat Smyslov and Fischer.

In 62, Keres won his matches against the bottom half, but so did Petrosian and Geller. Besides, Keres couldn't beat Fischer, who was beaten by Petrosian and Geller.

I don't see how Keres would have better chances winning in 56, 59, 62 if they had been organized as matches.

d_tal, after reading your and Greg's comments in the present thread again, I didn't find a definition of strong player anywhere - only hints about "the strongest" or "the best", which is something different .... . Maybe you refer to earlier posts by Greg Koster, but I did not check the entire archive.

I DO agree with you that Greg's recent posts were at times contradictory - he may be a bit confused, but so is the entire chess world because FIDE's (Ilyumshinov's) behavior [strategy would be the wrong word] on how to define and determine a world champion is confusing indeed.

What was my point? Frankly I don't like the "Kramnik-bashing" by some people on this forum. Repeating myself and other people on this list: Kasparov, Karpov and Fischer were the last ones who could claim to be clear number one (I cannot comment on earlier champions, even Fischer was before my time). Since then, the situation on the world top became tighter - no player clearly dominating, certainly not for many years to decades.

Among the latest ("post-Kasparov")champions and challengers, I would say Kramnik, Topalov, Anand (and Leko) could and can at least claim to be 'one of the best' (here defined as top 10) based on other criteria, career performance if you want. Some of the others (Kasimdzhanov, Khalifman, Ponomariov, Kamsky, did I forget anyone?) cannot ... .

Nunn's idea is a no go. Collusion is a real possibility. It could be because of animosity, friendship, or at worst, bribe. Think Topalov could throw a game in the last round to prevent Kramnik from winning the tourney? He definitely could.

Solution: take top 8 players in the world other than the WC based on ELO. This is your quarterfinals. 1vs8, 2vs7, etc., followed by semis and finals. [If you want to be the WC you should be be good enough to be in the top 9 rated ELO players. If you are really that good it shouldn't take to long to break into top 9.] Each match is 8 games, followed by rapid tiebreaks. Given them a 2-week break between each round, and then a 2-month break before taking on the WC.

¨Think Topalov could throw a game in the last round to prevent Kramnik from winning the tourney? He definitely could.¨
Topalov has played in many tournaments where half of the players were friends of Kramnik AND russian , you think they can agree stupid short draws and save energy to play him?
Its the same stupid argument , Kramnik has little chances of winning this tournament with or without Topalov throwing games.
And who has been known of playing to the bitter end? Kramnik or Topalov?
So you came up with a system to prevent Topalov from throwing games? genius, really inspiring.


Post-Kasparov, only Kramnik, Topalov, Anand could claim to be champions in some sense - both title-wise and rating-wise. Each had/has some kind of WC title, and was 1st at least once on the rating list. But none dominates in the way Kasparov, Karpov, Fischer, and some of the old champions did.

BTW, Leko is pretty strong and stable, but not quite the same as the trio, for both reasons mentioned above. Although stable at the top, his rating was never better than 4th. Also, if you want to include Leko, you might as well add Ivanchuk and Morozevich as well. And perhaps Aronian.

Lost in the stupid noise of what happened 50 years ago is the obvious fact that the ONLY reason professional chessplayers have to endure The Great Kirsan's reign of intellectual and moral terror is that they expect to be paid money that chess CAN NOT GENERATE on its own.

Chess is NOT big enough for millionaire purses. Topalov vs. Kamsky should be a 1-week long affair with two games a day, with the winner happy to get 30-40 thousand. That's what the game's popularity can realistically generate in LEGITIMATE sponsorship money.

Bottom line: if professional chessplayers want big money, they have to get their sugar daddy. Only problem is that the suggar daddy eventually gets to do the prostitute in the ass...

But, as always, it is better to blame Kirsan, Fischer or Hitler than to face the reality that chess is a marginal activity, a beautiful game with little money to offer.

Great post Irv, it nails down the issue.

It's true. FIDE keeps coming up with fantastical playoff schemes, Grand Prix series, etc, and they all founder because there just isn't money for an extended multi-tournament playoff to decide a challenger. On the other hand, one gigantic chessapalooza a la the World Cup sucks because it turns out like a lottery, but at least it only required ONE event.

I find myself thinking that we might as well go back to the old way. You want to challenge? You scare up enough money and away you go. Get rid of playoffs altogether, and it would solve the problem of completely erratic FIDE schemes. It would make FIDE almost irrelevant at the same time, and that is not a bad thing. Maybe it would disappear entirely.


I obviously agree 100% with your first paragraph, as I had posted exactly the same .... .

As far as Leko is concerned, I put his name in brackets because I also agree with you. Maybe I forgot about Ivanchuk (who played a final against Ponomariov), but I would consider him 'not stable enough'. Maybe this has changed recently, but his last-round loss at the Olympiad against Kamsky (not only that he lost, but how he lost) suggests again that he does not fit the criterion of "winning when it matters".

Morozevich, Aronian (Radjabov, Carlsen, .... the list could continue) have not yet gotten close to a world title under any format - which might of course change in the near future.

If thats true , can some of you explain Bilbao?
BTW , its funny how chessbase is refraining from publishing anything about this, i bet they are trying to come up with a 2sided strategy that makes this look unfair because of Topalov and at the same time fair in Kramniks case.
Divide and conquer little Kirsan ...

"If thats true , can some of you explain Bilbao?"

Anand had a contract with the Bilbao organizers which he respected. He under-performed at the tournament - as extensively discussed in the chess world, this is at least understandable (he was in the middle of preparations for the Bonn match, had to hide his opening ideas, had something else on his mind than the #1 rating spot).

Topalov has a contract with Linares, "so what?" (Danailov's words, not mine ....).

I concede that Topalov may well be the best player at the moment, but by a small margin (not dominating as Kasparov, Karpov or Fisher). However, in the present situation the world champion is not necessarily the very best player. And if we abandoned the whole idea of determining a world champion and consider only (live) rating, we may have a new world champion almost every month .... .


Leko got to the WC, but he didn't win. I only count people who win the WC, at least certain versions of it that are played against strong opposition (not the 2 games knock-out system).

But I would still count Leko as pretty strong based on his stability in the top 5, in the last few years. For the same reason, Ivanchuk and Morozevich could be included as well. Only those 3 have that level of stabilty (besides Anand-Kramnik-Topalov).

Aronian has not been stable at the top for that long, but that's because he just joined the elite recently. So we have to wait and see, but from the short time he's been up there, he has been impressive. Same with Carlsen.

So in my opinion, post-Kasparov we have 3 champions, more or less equal: Anand, Kramnik, Topalov. And then very strong and stable top players: Leko, Ivanchuk, Morozevich. In addition, Aronian and Carlsen, who joined the elite group recently. I think that pretty much sums up the situation at the top in the last 5 years.

Henry, just in case somebody might run away with the wrong idea, not only was Tal a true WC, he was also one of the greatest!!!!!! He was invincible when rampaging to the title! He had an unbeaten run that is still unbeaten, with one foot in the grave! Perhaps Fischer and Kasparov are ahead of him, perhaps ....

You didnt understand at all , i meant Bilbao because it was a rich tournament with very high prices.
I was responding to this " Chess is NOT big enough for millionaire purses. "

OK, indeed I misunderstood .... . It would have helped if you had indicated which post you were replying to - I just assumed it was referring to the discussion between Henry and me (because you had referred to Topalov's success in Bilbao at earlier occasions).

Henry - once again I think we agree on most aspects ... I had written "champions and challengers" - partly to acknowledge that, of all the people who got to challenger level, Leko came closest to the title.

I would only disagree with you that Ivanchuk and Morozevich are 'stable'. The official site of the Dresden Olympiad has graphs with the recent rating history of players (click on the player's name in the game section). Ivanchuk was consistently above 2730 since 2005 (not quite the last five years); only more recently he had 'spikes' above 2780 (including the present one which may or may not last). Morozevich and, on a slightly lower (average) level, Shirov have similar zigzagging curves.

So far nothing surprising. Clicking on some other names I 'stumbled' across Movsesian's recent continuous rise from about 2635 in January 2007 to presently 2732 - rather unusual for a comparatively 'old' player (born in 1978). If he goes on like that, he will cross 2800 in another 12 months ... of course this is, to say the least, still to be proven (the higher up you are on the rating list, the more difficult it is to futher improve or even defend your rating).

Obviously I do not want to compare him with any of the earlier-mentioned names. In another thread, I asked who should replace Topalov in Linares - Movsesian could be another surprise candidate, giving him a chance to prove that he is really worth his present rating (BTW confirmed by his Olympiad TPR of 2794'.

What about Dominguez? I would love to see him play in Linares.I really like his chess.

Replying to my own comment .... just noticed that Movsesian actually gets his chance at the Nanjing tournament - let's see what happens.

Replying to my own comment too... Yes i would love to see Dominguez playing in Linares, What a nice idea! :)


As I said in my previous email, I did acknowledge Tal as a true champion. Though his domination was short, it was convincing.

However, it's not correct that Tal was invincible when rampaging to the title. In the candidates, he lost against Keres 1-3. He still ended 1st, and became challenger, because it was a double round robin tournament system, and he won convincingly against the other players. However, that't not the same as being "invincible". His interzone and candidates results were less spectacular than the way Fischer and Kasparov went to became WC.


Well, Ivanchuk and Morozevich are much more stable (staying within the top 10 and top 5 level) than others within that period. Who else comes close, other than those I have mentioned?

Shirov's stability (in the last 5 years) is at a lower average, compared with all the names mentioned before.

Movsesian is interesting. He had a jump, but only ** very ** recently, and even that jump hasn't taken him into top 10. Even his latest Olympiad result has not taken him into top 10. Different from say, Carlsen or Aronian, whose jumps were also recent, but were clear breakthroughs into the very top.

By the way, if you take Movsesian's improvement as impressive, Wang Yue's is at least as impressive.

But yeah, it's interesting to see how Movsesian would do against elite players, because his recent improvement didn't involve too many games against 2700 players. He mostly won against lower (even much lower) opposition. Give him a chance to play in a top tournament.

Henry, he was constantly building momentum, dont forget, he was only 23 years old! Yes, he lost to Keres, and I meant invincible in a qualified sort of way of course, but he wasnt even expected to come close. Read the thoughts of people who were around then, he had an aura of magic around him, the pieces danced for him like no other, brilliance and genius was synonymous with Tal!!! He didnt study the game as hard as Kasparov and Fischer and he was mostly only healthy for a few months at a time. I find his achievements remarkable!

Regarding Ivanchuk and Morozevich, OK we have different definitions of 'stability', yours is as plausible as mine .... . And I tend to agree that "noone else comes close" - no name readily coming to my mind, and not bothering to check past ELO rankings over the last five years.

Regarding Movsesian vs. Wang Yue: I consider Movsesian's improvement remarkable because 1) it went largely unnoticed so far, 2) because it occurred at a relatively advanced age.

With respect to 1), obviously I may have missed something - as a chess amateur (with a job and other hobbies), I cannot constantly follow all chess information print and Internet ... . But, people correct me if I am wrong, while Wang Yue made it to the cover of New in Chess and had his 'personal entries' on this site, I am not aware of anything comparable for Movsesian. Despite the fact that they presently have about the same rating, and Wang Yue's rise on the ELO list was somewhat more gradual (since 2004). This may be because Wang Yue "exemplifies China as a rising chess power", and people do not care as much about Slovakia !?

With respect to 2) - viewing things from a German perspective - some people argue that Naiditsch, presently 23, is already too old to still make it to the very top. Of course there are other exceptions to this general pattern ("you have to be >2700 as a teenager [and maintain that rating thereafter], or forget about reaching the top 10, let alone become world champion !?"). The most prominent one is "good old" Gelfand - in that case more about returning to the very top rather than getting there for the first time. Gelfand's qualification for Mexico was already termed a surprising success, and in tournament previews nobody gave him a chance of scoring even 50%. But of course, Gelfand has received quite some media attention .... .

I guess it is due to the nationality of the blog writer that the most silly thing about this new format is overlooked: Kamsky is guaranteed another shot. Simply ridiciulous comparing his playing strength to the remaining field of top GMs. We might be quite a few who are no longer in the Topalov fanbase despite his entertaining chess. But he is a guarantee for off-board action. Good for chess PR.

Remove the Kamsky clause and the other wildcard and this is decent.

There should be a thread somewhere filled with quotes of this little president.
Here are some from this Sport Express interview:

Talking of Chernenko: ¨He was recommended to me by Alexander Sabancheev, a reputable businessman,.. . And I know his uncle very well too! So these are not people from off the streets. ¨
Wow, we all lose money on that bet i guess.

¨How they begged me to trust them, and I did¨
Wouldnt be more healthy for chess if there wouldnt be any begging involved at all?
Because , you know , there is a big difference between a president and a king, even a burger king like this one.

Well i don´t want to bother , but there are a lot more gems in this interview with King Kirsan.

Re Larry Chubaroff: So my saying there shouldn't be any safety net is somehow nationalistic favoritism toward Kamsky? If it's eliminated for Topalov it's eliminated for Kamsky, too, obviously. And you're falling into a trap of making exceptions based on things that supposedly don't matter. Kamsky is weak, according to you. But he BEAT Svidler, Carlsen, and Shirov in head-to-head play IN THE OFFICIAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER. If you want to eliminate all world championship EVENTS and just live with the rating list, say so. But if you hold EVENTS and people you don't like, or people with lower ratings, WIN THEM, you have to stand by those rules.

The argument that these events are not valid for some reason is relevant, but that doesn't seem to be the argument you want to have. You have a situation now where many of the top players don't bother to play in the WCh events and certainly one reason is they assume they'll get another shot anyway because FIDE will never stick to a plan.

I singled out Topalov because he has accumulated free ride after free ride after winning San Luis 2005 without winning anything else. And before you say "but he has a high rating" or "but he plays nice games," I don't care. The WCh is supposed to be about winning WCh events. Not Bilbao, not the Olympiad. If he loses to Kamsky in February and plays in this new candidates tournament (2009? 2010?), the reason he's there will be "because he lost to Kamsky in 09 for losing to Kramnik in 06 for winning San Luis in 05." He could have played in Khanty-Mansiysk or the Grand Prix, but why should he? Aronian has won plenty of strong events in the past few years but isn't getting a free pass into every cycle for life.

Have they mentioned which rating list the #1 player will be selected from for the candidates tournament? That's critical, of course. And what does "the highest rated player provided that he is one of the top six players based on the rating list" supposed to mean? Is there a way for the top-rated player not otherwise qualified to not be in the top six? I guess it's possible if numbers 1-6 were the World Cup two, Grand Prix two, Topalov, Anand and Kamsky, but is that really what they mean? Idiotic anyway. The WCh should de-emphasize the rating list, not emphasize it.

I agree with Larry guaranteeing Kamsky entrance to a candidates tournament is bonkers. Apart from that I could live with it. Anyway although this system will be unecessarily unfair to a number of players there is a reasonable chance that the best current player will emerge as the challenger.

I don't understand why you keep saying that Topalov is getting a free ride , because he is not.
It is weird because you know the facts,
Topalov got this match in exchange for the challenge that Kramnik avoided.
You might find that unfair or whatever , but those are the facts.
We can argue about the fairness of that rule and i can say that getting a free ticket because your country hosts the tournament is also very dubious but saying that Topalov keeps getting free rides is not accurate.
You said that Topalov " has accumulate free ride after free ride" , now i ask you: What other free ride are you talking about?
The imposition of this new cycle is a shame for chess , it doesnt matters who gets the free ride .
We should focus on who is behind this, and is not the Bulgarian camp at all because they already have what they want, they not need this now.
Who else can it be? Who was out of this system and now is back?

I don't know what you mean by "invincible".
Tal won the interzone by just the minimum half-point margin. In the candidates, not only was he beaten by Keres, but also held equal 2-2 by Petrosian. BTW, but he got a big edge with a 4-0 win against the young Fischer.

None of this reduces the greatness of Tal's result. It just doesn't occur to me to use "invincible" in this context, as I would for Fischer (winning interzone with a huge margin; and you know how he humiliated his opponents in the candidates), or Kasparov (also large margins in his interzone and all his candidates matches).

Of course, Tal's results are even more remarkable in the context of his health, as I already mentioned.

Also, apart from results, if we go back to the games themselves, he produced many quite memorable ones indeed.

BTW, not everybody around him at that time was impressed. Do you know that even during the period of Tal's climb to the top (his peak period) he had negative scores against Korchnoi, Spasski, Petrosian, and Keres? That's during his peak period! And if you extend the scores to lifetime scores, against all of them he still had a negative score.

Well, Tal's aura worked on Botvinnik, who lost against him with a big margin. However the old man came back a year later to win with an even bigger margin.

But OK, Tal did impress scores of others, especially lower ranked players - kind of reminds me of what Morozevich is doing nowadays, except Tal did it better.


i assume then that you confirm that you agree that it makes as little sense to give kamsky a safety net as it does giving topalov a safety net.

kamsky will get what the winner of the world chess cup was promised _prior_ to the event - a semi-final match against topalov. kamsky is currently one match away from playing a true world championship final, with no competing title or system present elsewhere.

arguing that kamsky "actually won something" as a reason to give him additional benefits, isn't convincing at all. it's basically playing along with fide's flawed reasoning when it comes to having clear rules and following those rules.

a reason why kamsky's auto-qualification is even worse than that of topalov's (having nothing to do with topalov or kamsky per se), is that kamsky is already playing in a qualification event which now _does not matter_ to him personally, in terms of going through: he is already through to the candidates.

what does that mean? fide has one more time created a situation where a player can directly influence who he will later face in the fight for the championship, and more or less without any personal downside for that player. i do find it quite unlikely that kamsky in his next grand prix events will start dropping points to players he consider less dangerous in the candidates, but even the possibility shouts at me about the stupidness of the recent "suggestion" of fide.

[and of course, whatever kamsky's intentions, you can be sure that if losses by kamsky indirectly outmanouvers favourites like aronian, radjabov, carlsen or even wang yue in their fight for top places in a future grand prix event, then someone will notice. a less than ideal situation, imho.]

at the same time, when 2 of 3 of anand/topalov/kamsky get _much more_ than they were promised from fide, the current grand prix competitors have had their efforts seriously devalued. the "qualifiers" have been increased from one to two, but on the other hand, what you win has been reduced from a 1/2-final to a 1/8-final in the fight for the world championship. those who have the biggest reason to feel cheated, are the winners of the two first events: aronian and wang yue/gashimov/carlsen.

in legal terms, fide has broken the contract with all of the 21 grand prix participants - when you no longer win the right to a semi-final by participating, i'm not sure if everyone who's there had chosen to sign their contract in the first place. if some organizer issues a contract promising a first prize of $100 000, you aren't bound by that contract if the organizer comes back and says "sorry, it'll only be $25 000".

but you don't have to go to kalmykia in order to find interesting stuff pertaining to rating. the new "rules" also had a paragraph about being 2700+ for being eligible as an organizer invitee to the candidates. now, does the us have any of those, except kamsky?

officially, nakamura is 2704. if the organizers of montreal international had submitted the rating report for the event, which finished september 2nd, before the deadline of september 15th, then nakamura would've been 2695 now. but according to fide rules, the organizer for some obscure reason has 60 days to submit such reports for rating, making it entirely possible to tweak ratings back and forth quite a lot, given that the entire rating period is only roughly 90 days.

well, at the time of this writing, it's more than 85 days since the montreal event finished, and i still can't find the event on fide's site of reports due to be rated for the 2009 january list. since you are on the right side of the atlantic ocean, could you possibly ask someone if nakamura's rating loss of 8,6 points are going to be late forever, or if fide is simply late at updating their web-site with rating reports received from canada?

if fide are going to use to ratings as qualification criteria for anything, then ratings need to become much more predictable than the current official fide ratings are today. the ridiculous 60 day limit for submitting rating reports is only beaten by the lack of appropriate actions when reports are late or never appear. without transparency and predictability every system breaks down.

" Who was out of this system and now is back?"


almost nobody of the top players were technically out of the system - the world chess cup is still a possible qualification route for lots of players, including kramnik and topalov, for instance.

we have to distinguish between the "cycles":

1) the one that finishes when the winner of kamsky/topalov plays anand.

2) the one that finishes when the winner of that match plays the winner of the ongoing cycle, where the grand prix 2008/2009 and the world chess cup 2009 originally were announced as the only possible paths to qualification.

all of topalov, kramnik and morozevich (for instance) were invited to the grand prix, and all of them can still play the world chess cup. none of them are out.

but kirsan is far out...


Seems to me Movsesian's improvent went largely unnoticed mainly because he collected his points at low profile events, such as club championships. The only high-profile win he produced was at Corus, and that's only at the B group.

In contrast, Wang Yue got his points at the high-profile Grand Prix tournaments, the China - Russia match, and the NH tournament against the seniors.

Movsesian's recent improvement did not involve too many games against 2700 players. In contrast, Wang Yue played more than 30 games against 2700s, without a single loss. That's why it would be interesting to see how Movsesian will do at an elite event.

Also intersting to note that Wang Yue hasn't lost in his last 80+ games, while Movsesian dropped games here and there.

One final point: Wang Yue's jump was not more gradual than Movsesian's. They both increased about 100 points since Jan 2007.

Gelfand's case is different. He reached his best rating early on, when he was probably around 22.
He never quite reached the same rating again. He did well in Mexico, but that came right after the mediocre 2nd last result at Dortmund. Taken the two results together, his rating increase in this period was not that big.

I can see giving the loser of Anand/? an invite, but it is ludicrous to give the loser of Kamsky/Topalov.

Frogbert is certainly right that the Grand Prix participants are getting screwed. I wonder if any of them are going to drop out of it, or sue FIDE. Kamsky certainly doesn't have anything to play for in it except the money.

I'm not going to get too worked up, though. FIDE will come up with a completely new scheme in six months.

>I singled out Topalov because he has accumulated free ride after free
>ride after winning San Luis 2005 without winning anything else

I'm sure you would rewrite this because it makes no sense. Topalov got
one semi-free ride to play Kamsky. That's all. Semi-free because other
clauses were shut in his face (you know the history, no point to
repeat it). BTW, you were far less "energized" when Kramnik got his
"post-Mexico" free ride. Anyway, I don't think that it is Topalov's
camp driving the current changes, so decency would demand not another
aimless smearing campaign at this hard working player.


"...so decency would demand not another
aimless smearing campaign at this hard working player."

Poor Veselin Topalov. Victim of aimless smearing campaigns. You almost feel like having a tag day for him.

You know what im talking about, this is quick action taken after last WCH match to include Kramnik or another Russian player.
Look at this interview and tell me that Topalov wanted to change the system, look at his face when Susan asks...
I just wonder if Kirsan had a meeting with Putin after the WCH match or if they arranged this by the phone.

The only player that will gain something is Kramnik.
Russia will organize the event and Kramnik will qualify again without playing a single game.

Yep, Kramnik is of course foremost in Putin's thoughts :)

And obviously Anand, Topalov and Kamsky, all guaranteed a place in the next cycle if they lose a match, haven't gained something more than Kramnik.

It's all theoretical, as FIDE will think up something new in the meantime, but Kirsan's plan means Kramnik would have a very good chance of getting one of the three entries based on rating. He's sixth and needs to be fifth,assuming Topalov & Anand don't fall away, and the winner of the Grand Prix or World Cup isn't rated above him.

The host country nominating a player is just a standard attempt to increase the chances of gaining sponsorship (or in this case, so that Kirsan might not have to fund everything himself). He mentioned Kramnik, but only because he was giving the interview to a Russian paper. I wouldn't bet against China being interested, or indeed Bulgaria, assuming Cheparinov can get back above 2700.

First of all, to correct a possible wrong impression: No I am not a particular fan of Movsesian, I was truly surprised by his recent rating improvement. Nor do I imply that Wang Yue's performance is not equally remarkable [pointless to discuss how many points either player would deserve from 0-10 on a 'remarkability scale'].

You are right that, compared to Wang Yue, Movsesian didn't play 'too many' 2700 players. However, his rating improvement was partly due to winning Bosna 2007 (ahead of Morozevich and Short, rated 2691 at that point) and the "Czech Coal Carlsbad Chess Tournament 2007" (not as widely known, but including Ponomariov, Shirov and Akopian). And at the Olympiad he played Radjabov, Jobava, Bacrot and Sasikiran (no wins but four draws).
Not quite the same as Grand Prix Tournaments and Russia-China [The NH Tournament has a publicity-prone setup and does a good PR job anyway, but objectively it isn't such a strong event] ... but not nearly the same as club championships! I also concede that facing one or two top players is not the same as very strong opposition in every single game.
Well, we will soon see if Movsesian can indeed conserve his rating in strong events. He will play Nanjing (certainly invited due to his rating) and Corus A (qualified by winnning last year's B group). In these events he is still the outsider, the man to be beaten [probably noone will go for short draws against him with either color]. This can lead to complete disaster or, on the other end of the scale, a surprise win - see Bologan and Naiditsch in past Dortmund events, it would be surprising but not unprecedented.

And, back to directly comparing Movsesian and Wang Yue: I guess 'gradual' was the wrong word to describe Wang Yue. If you consider 2007/2008 in isolation, you are correct that both performances are quite similar. But Wang Yue continuously improved at a fast pace since Jan 2004 (then he was rated 2490). And I guess it is not uncommon for young players to improve until they reach their 'personal ceiling'. Movsesian was 'semi-stable' (fluctuating between 2620 and 2660) from 2000-2007, and then things suddenly changed. I wonder why? New trainer? Starting to work on chess much more seriously? Giving up smoking and/or drinking? Just making some wild guesses ... .

And what is the 'personal ceiling' for both players? For Wang Yue it may well be 2800 or higher (I would be ready to bet 10 Euros on it, but not 100 or 1000). For Movsesian I would say "database still insufficient to make meaningful predictions".

"The only player that will gain something is Kramnik. "

that's utter nonsense.

kamsky was not at all any obvious qualifier in the next cycle. if things had proceeded like scheduled, the next world chess cup would've been clearly stronger than the one that kamsky won, and even repeating his win from 2007 in a similar field in 2009, was more unlikely than likely - everyone who understands a bit about how these cup-tournamnents work, realize that.

also topalov/anand are clearly favoured here. anand is possibly the only player it would make perfect sense for NOT to play any qualification tournament in the cycle with grand prix 2008/2009 and wcc 2009, leading to a world championship match in 2011.

the winner of kamsky/topalov could possibly also gamble on becoming new world champion, and hence not bother with playing wcc 2009.

i don't understand why so many have so much difficulty realizing the true motifs here - whether they point solely to kramnik or rant about the free-loader topalov, like mig did.

here's the deal, in some detail:

this new "proposal" has been made in order to spare kramnik (or the russian pick for defending the russian "honour" - what a misleading term in this context) for going through normal qualification rounds for the next (possible) world championship - wc 2011.

[kramnik and moro knowingly declined the grand prix 2008/2009, but both of them could still qualify to the 2011 wc match through the 2009 wcc.]

so, what do we have?

*** wc 2010 ***

in the run for becoming wc 2010, we originally had (after the 2007 championsihp that anand won, and before the wcc 2007):

anand, kramnik, topalov + all wcc 2007 players

all the elite players could play wcc 2007, most of them did, and kamsky prevailed. after wcc 2007, it was reduced to:

anand, kramnik, topalov, kamsky

of these 4, only kamsky entered the 2008/2009 grand prix, but everyone was invited. after the anand - kramnik 2008 wc match, the list of runners for wc 2010 was reduced to

anand, topalov, kamsky

note, that these players (except the eventual winner in 2010) have no right or special privileges for the qualification towards wc 2011 - that's a _different_ cycle, and except for the world champion, it's unrelated to the previous "cycle".

*** wc 2011 ***

in that cycle, the situation is this:

chance to qualify through grand prix 2008/2009 - 20 (21) players fight for one semi-final spot - all top players could have entered if they wanted to.

chance to qualify through wcc 2009 - all wcc 2009 players fight for the other semi-final spot, and all top players can play, including kramnik, moro, topalov, anand, etc.


now, what happened, is this:

a new candidate event is announced, with a very, very short bidding period (december 2008, january 2009), and this becomes public less than a week before the bidding period starts.

technically it was decided by the 2008 ga (general assembly), but the participants of the ga were _not_ informed about this proposal in advance, it was not part of the announced agenda of the 2008 ga to be held in dresden. hence the fide representatives could not discuss the issue with the other members of its federation - they were just taken hostage by the presidential board in typical fide manner. that the ga can even vote on stuff like this, stunt proposals from the presidential board not made public in advance, is a (repeated) scandal in organisational terms.

due to the short bidding period, the chance is about zero that anyone who didn't know about these plans before the fide congress in dresden will be able to present an offer. hence, the chance is 99,9% that the only bidder will belong to the russian federation.

still, kirsan is no fool, so he knows that he can't put a russian player in a "candidate event" for the wc 2011 where theoretically anand or topalov won't be present. the indian and/or bulgarian federations would have made all kinds of hell if their player were not secured a place in this candidate event, while kramnik was - even without any kind of qualification.

the solution is simple: kirsan has to make sure that _all_ possible outcomes of the two kamsky/topalov vs anand matches will guarantte bulgarian and indian participation in this new event - kamsky is the double free-loader here, because he basically gets the free ride because of anand and topalov. still, the usa is a big nation, and even if less influential in top chess than bulgaria and india lately, it doesn't hurt to give the us something, either.

hence, the corrupt fide arranges it as follows:

russia - gets a "free" spot (it costs some money)
india - gets a potentially free spot
bulgaria - gets a potentially free spot
usa - gets a potentially free spot

one of the latter three spot won't be invoked, simply because it won't be needed, but the guarantee is still there, and that's what matters.

to me, it doesn't matter for a second that this was done mainly because of kramnik, as long as india, bulgaria and the us all will go along, since they have been "bought" to accept this giant corrupt scheme.

mig, i think your original piece on this missed most of the big picture here. why don't you rather focus on your own country and chess federation accepting to be muted to silence, together with bulgaria and india?

mig, think big, not petty attacks on topalov's camp. in this ploy, the us federation has roughly the same role as the bulgarian federation. use your influence for something important instead of being held hostage for the truth.

My god frogbert, open your eyes .You really think Bulgarian chess federation is so powerfull?
Same thing with the Indian federation or the USA ..
Kirsan is the president of a Russian appendix , you are the one who need to think big , not Mig.

If there is Russian money and a Russian of Kramnik or Moro's level gets a wild card spot in an event with 8 players, what's the problem?

This just gives flexibility, if the wild card is strong enough to win, good luck to them.

What's the problem ?
You must be kidding , what about the players of the Grand Prix?
Flexibility? You meant corruption..


manu, you obviously weren't there when topalov got the right to play the winner of the wcc 2007. when topalov agreed the details about the world championship match against kramnik, there was absolutely NOTHING in the contract giving him further benefits if he lost that match.


manu, you obviously weren't there when fide decided not to rate linares 2007 for the april list in 2007. fide actually changed the april list in order to please india and avoid accusations of being "racist" and i don't know what.

like i wrote above, giving kamsky a free spot, was basically a side-effect of securing places for topalov and anand, but it doesn't hurt to throw in a little something for the us either, even if it was more or less accidentally.

if you don't think it matters to have the countries of the only two world number ones after kasparov's retirement on your team, then you think very small, manu. anand and topalov also happen to be 2 of the 3 latest world champions in fide. oh, it's important. don't make a mistake about it.

Again: The reason of Topa getting to play the winner of the world cup were not what you say, they are all over this site (do your research i will not double post them).
The Elista contract has nothing to do with Topalov playing Kamsky, i dont know what you meant with that.
About Anand and the power of his federation i recomend you to read this article from chessbase:
The Bulgarian and the Indian federations are no match to Russian´s power and influence (although diminished nowadays).
Remember when things got heavy in Elista? Remember that Kirsan was in meeting with Putin during that match?
Remember Kirsan saying that Putin asked him to find inmediate solution to the problem?
Again: Anand , Topalov , Kamsky, Prix Players ARE in the cycle , While Kramnik and Morozevich ARE NOT.
This new change add their names to the mix , as stated by the FIDE president himself in his last interview .
And lets stop talking about who thinks big or small , just try to be a little more aware of the facts.

manu, first i did not say anything about why topalov got to play the winner of the world cup. i simply said that it wasn't in any contract prior to his match against kramnik. fact or no fact?

"Again: Anand , Topalov , Kamsky, Prix Players ARE in the cycle , While Kramnik and Morozevich ARE NOT."

manu, this is plain wrong, if you care even a bit about the facts:

there are two independent cycles in progress:

1) to decide the challenger to the champion in the 2010 wc match

2) to decide the challenger to the champion in the 2011 wc match

in cycle one, the grand prix 2008/2009 plays no part, nor does the wcc 2009. there are two potential challengers left, topalov and kamsky. neither kramnik nor anand were potential challengers in this cycle, kramnik was a potential defender of the wc title, if he had beaten anand. in that case, anand would've been no challenger to the 2010 wc match. after the wcc 2007, that was either topalov or kamsky, period.

in cycle two, neither of kramnik, moro, topalov, anand or kamsky are out (only one of kamsky/topalov/anand will be the defender in the 2011 wc match) - all 5 of them can play the 2009 wcc which was one of two qualification events in the 2008-2011 cycle, with a "semi-final" or "challenger match" in 2010.

so stop saying that kramnik and moro are out - they are NOT out, moro has even signalled that he intends to play the 2009 wcc, and both losers in the cycle towards the 2010 match will be offered to play the 2009 wcc.

those are the plain basics, manu. if you keep mixing the two independent cycles in progress (one being almost finished, with only two matches left, "challenger match" and wc match against anand in 2010), then i realize that many things become blurred.

i'm usually pretty up to speed in the facts department.

>manu: mig, i think your original piece on this missed most of the big
>picture here. why don't you rather focus on your own country and
>chess federation

Because the USCF is a non-factor my dear ManU. There are more people
"that make sense" in a medical marijuana convention in San Fran than
in the USCF. Even Berkeley's City Concil makes a correct decision
ocasionally, by mistake no doubt, but not the USCF. They're an
organization so deeply concerned with itself that they barely know why
they exist. Anyway, after the Kamsky situation and the "active role of
the USCF" I had to get it off my chest...


¨manu, first i did not say anything about why topalov got to play the winner of the world cup. i simply said that it wasn't in any contract prior to his match against kramnik. fact or no fact?¨
Pointless fact, because has nothing to do with the current situation.It wasnt in any contract of the 2000 WCH match either , so what?
So you throw data to the table that has nothing to do with this argument, fact or no fact?

manu, you obviously belong to the group of topalov fans who think that topalov got the right to the match against kamsky for a good reason.

there is no point in arguing that subject one more time. the fact remains that there are very, very many chess fans throughout the world that disagree with about that - i being one of them.

at the moment, that's everything that needs to be said. restarting the argument about whether topalov should've got that match or not, has no purpose. we disagree - many people disagree with you. that a number of people, mostly topalov fans, agree with you, doesn't change the big picture. it's a fact that giving topalov that match was controversial, for several reasons, and it didn't happen without notable involvement from influential bulgarian people. when fide finally made that decision, there were lots of protests. end of story.

Some people in this forum are really confused about the way Topalov got the match with the last world cup winner. After the Topalov-Kramnik match Topalov was supposed to start from zero to qualify for another title shot and Kramnik as a winner should defend his title in an uncomfortable (for him) round-robin tournament in Mexico. That was the CONTRACT for both of them ,period . But Fide decided break the contract giving an extra chance to Kramnik to defend his classic Title against the winner no mattering what his result was in the mexican Tournament to try to save the socalled Steinitz tradition assuming Russian authorities pression and SINGLE match lovers petitions. As a compensation of this contract violation and because Topalov could not be placed in a 9 round-robin tournament scenario , FIDE decided to compensate Topalov with this match. Fair or not this is not the first time a handpicked decision is taken in the chess world. I personally don't like a lot of situatons in the history of chess but i just have to accep them as a lover of the game.

this might come as a surprise, granda, but it is actually possible for someone to know everything publicly available about how topalov got that match, and still disagree that he deserved getting it.

one doesn't need to be neither insane, confused nor in lack of information to disagree about that decision. and if you claim that this compensation from fide came about entirely without pressure from anyone, then the person in lack of correct information is you.

anyway, that's rather academic at this point in time. we're not discussing the fairness of that match, but now topalov, kamsky and anand have just got a guarantee about being seeded into the final event for the NEXT cycle - completely out of thin air.

the ehtical and honourable thing to do for all of them, would be to decline any such unfair advantage over other top players. if they would do that, the players would grab some power back from fide - accepting bribes like this, whenever it is to your advantage, while crying at the top of your lungs when the advantage suddently is shifted to someone else, is simply being a guarantor for future ploys by kirsan's fide.

now, will topalov & co behave in a short-sighted or a long-sighted way, as representatives for the top chess players? unfortunately i think i know the answer to this one.

Frogbert , your posts make no sense to me, i will stop replying because its really pointless.
see u @

frogbert, do you know what was the official announcement for the Kramnik - Topalov match. It was that a player above 2700 can challenge the champion.
Quess what Kramnik challenged the champion and won. Then Topalov challenged the champion and he was refused a match. After Danailov threatened to FIDE with a court of law Topalov was given a shot with the match with Kamsky. Let us pray however that the greatest evil will not happen again and Kramnik will not gain a shot at the title without a qualification.

frogbert, i completely agree with you about the Anand-Topalov-Kamsky benefit to directly qualify to the next cycle.There are a lot of unfair facts about the chess world and the Topalov match is one of those facts. The handpicked Kramnik match against Kasparov was also unfair, The rematch refusal of Kramnik toward Kasparov was also unfair, The Alekhine rematch refusal to Capablanca was also unfair, The way Karpov got the title from Fischer. There are several unfair facts in the chess world and we can do nothing to avoid them, in my opinion the history of chess caos has been produced because the fact to keep that socalled sacred tradition of a single match CHAMPION-NO MATTER WHO CHALLENGER . Everything is related to protect that legacy and unfortunately the title belongs to the champion and not to an sportive institution . Chess and boxing are the 2 sports facing the same identity problem , everything depends on who get a bag of money to get a shot for the socalled title. Why nobody complaint the current way the Woman world chess champion is produced? or the way the Junior world chess champion is produced?. What we need is kill that insane tradition and create a solid and democratic format and give all the best ranked players the same posibility to show who is the best starting a cycle from zero. For example a reduced 8 games Knock-out tournament with 8 or 16 best ranked players it should be ideal to achieve that goal. We don't need eliminate the match format , we need to create a real sportive cycle fair for everyone includind us the chess spectators.We need to eliminate the champion benefit of waiting a single challenger to defend his title. All the youg generation of chess players is being afected because of this and because Fide is often creating a new circus.

sss, i think i've read about everything available on elite chess for several years. i very seldomly come upon new information of any kind, regarding things made public in the past.

"After Danailov threatened to FIDE with a court of law Topalov was given a shot with the match with Kamsky."

do you think this in any way is in contradiction to what i said:

"it's a fact that giving topalov that match was controversial, for several reasons, and it didn't happen without notable involvement from influential bulgarian people."

last time i checked, danailov was one of the more influential people in bulgarian chess. now, do you think danailov would've watched without any reaction, if

1) topalov loses to either of kamsky or anand
2) some candidate event would be organized, and
3) the russian organizer invited kramnik, and
4) topalov would have no similar seat, but was left with the wcc 2009 as qualification path?

i want to see the first bulgarian chess fan who says "oh, that would probably be no problem to us. i mean, if the russians pay for that event, of course dear kramnik should get a free spot - why would topalov and danailov possibly object to that? we can rely on toppy boy to wrestle his way to the final of the wcc 2009 and earn his spot that way - no special treatment is needed for us..."

if you want the right "comical twist" to that, then imagine it being spoken in a high-pitched motherish voice.

Kirsan's decision is OBVIOUS -- include THE TOP CHALLENGERS in order
to INSURE HIMSELF against any more trouble in the future. NO LOSS AT
THE TOP IS FINAL, everybody's happy.

But why are some of you so freakishly obsessed with Topalov & Co -- do
you believe that the latest round of changes are driven by Danailov??
Don't you nerds have some other direction to channel your frustration
with Kirsan than sniping and jabbing one of the best and most
entertaining Chess players?

The hosting of the championship also opens the door for some "active
federation" to get its player through. That's not a bad idea at
all. There are several real Federations out there (not the USCF, of
course) that could take advantage of that -- the Armenians, Azeri's,
Russians, Ukrainians, all come to mind.

Of course, I've said it two years ago -- FIDE is in danger of ruining
it's most important asset, the World Chess Title. Much better to go
with the new venues, like the Grand Slam etc. It's a far better
reflection of who is hot at the moment. It is the number of titles
that will count in the end, the number of great games and
unforgettable moments that will stay with the fans than one particular
title. Just like in Tennis.

frogbert, get out of Academia buddy, get in the Real World, do some
real programming for some real money. I'm sure your wife has suggested
something along those lines already. Leave Topalov alone, he has a
tough job ahead to keep his #1 spot.


Henry, I will freely admit I admire Tal and am wont to use superlatives when describing him. If the word invincible bothers you, consider it unsaid, the larger point I was trying to make was that he is one of the greatest WCs in history, regardless of the fact that he has a negative record against some others who are legends in their own right, such as Spassky, Keres and Korchnoi. I mean so what? Tal won against Spassky when he needed to, his games against Keres are unfortunately less numerous than they should be. As for Korchnoi, in their match, Tal nearly came through, and made Korchnoi so irate at not being able to dispatch his "usual customer" as he had been expecting, that he launched a furious attack (as Korch usually does when he is not happy at how events transpire) against his style, and it fell to Petrosian to defend Tal. Korchnoi himself failed when he didnt dispatch Karpov the first time around, even though he had ample oportunity.

Anyway, the question of who was better than whom is always answered subjectively, but what gets my goat is when people diss his style in trying to appear sophisticated in their chess knowledge ("impresses low ranked players"), when really all they are doing are revealing their ignorance. This was satisfactorily shown in the recently concluded WC, when Anand crushed Kramnik, who was reputed to have a positional style that made him the best ever, according to some posters.

"the question of who was better than whom is always answered subjectively"
true nuff, BUT
"Tal won against Spassky when he needed to"
is a little lame?? Unless you mean that after becoming champ he never "needed" to win again, a strange idea?
Don't get me wrong, Tal forever!! A textbook genius and a nice guy to boot. But a quick glance will show quote 2 patently untrue.

dimi, you must read what i've written one more time.

i never said topalov is the main issue here. but in order to give a (very likely) russian organizer the right to put a russian player into the next "world championship semi-final", kirsan would have to include topalov and anand there too.

otherwise, the theory that this semi-final spot in the next cycle could've been used to make the kamsky camp agree to come to terms with the bulgarians about their semi-final match.

and while topalov has done well to deserve his number one rating at the moment, he has done nothing at all to deserve a place in the semi-final of the next cycle. that's a pure gift, as this added prize of reaching the semi-final in the 2010 wc cycle was only made known now, a whole year after that semi-final was a done deal.

kirsan has really easy play, since top players and their fans both will accept any gift given to them (and even try to rationalize about it), despite ANY negative consequences it WILL have for their elite gm colleagues.

long live greed and selfishness, the best friends of the fide presidential board.

"frogbert, get out of Academia buddy, get in the Real World, do some real programming for some real money."

referring to myself as an "academic", simply positions me in terms of education and to a less degree in terms of state of mind. besides, i still play for "academic chess club oslo" when i occasionally play otb chess.

otherwise, i've been in the real world for a long time, earning a 6-digit number of us dollars each year doing real programming on both real and virtual computers.

"otherwise, the theory that this semi-final spot in the next cycle could've been used to make the kamsky camp agree to come to terms with the bulgarians about their semi-final match...

... isn't so stupid, either.

(forgot to end that sentence, somehow.)

see the other thread about this subject, near the bottom, for more details of the above.

@frogbert: You triple post, never caps and now talk about your degrees and how much you make in a year ...From where i come from this is both tasteless and pathetic.

manu, i don't feel the faintest need to explain and defend neither "tripple posts", lacks of caps or a straight answer to dimi's suggestion that i should do real work for real money.

where i come from, it's considered pathetic to engage in personal attacks the minute you are out of arguments regarding the subject being debated.

have a nice day, manu. remember not to spit or throw rocks on anyone today.

OK, how about: Tal won against Spassky one of the two times he absolutely needed to, in order to be come WC?

d, when are you starting your very own Tal vanity website? You could post photos and love-essays all day long and request that visitors check their objectivity at the portal. On this forum it's just the broken logic of a cult member, so why not let it all out on a dedicated site? I know I'd check it out for sure.

That's not a bad idea, although I would call it the Tal appreciation site. I'll start that as soon as you start the clubfoot vanity appreciation site, where you rant and rave all day long, and require that visitors check their sanity at the portal.

Heart-stopping comeback, but no one appreciates Tal on this site by half. So call it an appreciation site, match photos to tournaments, add essays from Sosonko and Ree and others, and I bet you'll get an awful lot of hits.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 25, 2008 11:58 AM.

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