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Rustam Kamsky Speaks!

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But apparently it should be "Roustam" and if he signs it that way, I'd recommend spelling it that way, too. His has an open letter out on his son's candidates match against Topalov, well covered here over the past few days. Anyone who remembers Gata Kamsky's career before retiring in 1996 also remembers his father's vitriolic and occasionally violent nature when it came to protecting what he saw as his son's best interests. With that perspective in mind, this letter is pretty tame stuff.

He points out that FIDE is, as usual, asking players to commit without having all the details. Here's the meaty part of the letter.

The foremost important issue that FIDE omitted from its agenda for the technical meeting in Dresden on November 18th, 2008 is to have both players and their attorneys to discuss and negotiate the terms of the contract. During prior months FIDE remained silent to numerous requests for a contract for the Kamsky-Topalov match made by GM Kamsky's attorney. Yet having no contract, FIDE mandated on November 6, 2008, that both players must confirm their participation by November 14, 2008. Before any confirmation can be given a player must know the time, the place and the prize fund for the match. FIDE is trying to use time pressure to force players into confirming to unknown terms that could later become critical. GM Kamsky is asking for the minimum - an honestly and fairly organized match in neutral location. If that does not occur both players instead of fighting against each other should unify to fight against FIDE in the court of law. . . .

It is clear that FIDE has a direct duty and responsibility to organize the world championship match Kamsky-Topalov. However FIDE's latest response is to place its burden upon players, thus confronting the players even before their battle on a chess board. I anticipate that in these uncertain times Gata's life could be in danger: no person - no problem.

I'd agree about FIDE's obligation mostly because they dug this hole by jumping into bed with the Bulgarians to gift Topalov this match in the first place. But the neutrality aspect of père Kamsky's missive is dubious. Neutral location is preferable, but not always enforceable. As Alexei Shirov pointed out here recently, plenty of candidates matches have taken place on one player's home soil. (And Kamsky should note that the visitor almost always wins!) Not great, but better than nothing. This match shouldn't have existed to begin with, of course. If they just canceled it and made Kamsky the challenger I wouldn't shed a tear. But it was set up in advance and if the Bulgarian offer can meet the requirements and the money is in the bank, it should happen.

The Stalin-Putin paranoia at the end was a nice touch. But FIDE wouldn't kill anyone unless they were standing in the way of a lot of money and that's not the case here. I'm assuming his referring to the match as a world championship was just a Freudian slip. Earlier he says Anand would have done better against Kasparov in 95 had he not included "as his trusted seconds grandmasters from the former Soviet Union." The only members of Anand's 95 team to fit that description were Elizbar Ubilava and Artur Jussupow. (Speelman and Wolff were the others.) Is he suggesting Ubilava (Anand's trusted second of many years) and Jussupow sabotaged Anand? And what about Kasimjanov on his team this year?

It's including crazy things like this that sabotage the credibility of anything else he has to say. That said, the point about there not being a contract is entirely valid and it's been valid every time FIDE does this. They don't have the credibility to expect players to take their word on anything. I do hope this is worked out.


I agree about hte neutral location, if he and his father are so worried about it, why did he play Anand in Sanghinagar, where he actually defeated Anand. Play Gata wherever you get chance or no one will remember you after two years, with your chess you will be well below 2700 and out of top elite, now itself most people don't think he is in the class of Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Carlsen, Aronian, Topalov.

It is libellous nonsense to suggest FIDE would ever kill anyone for any reason.

'But FIDE wouldn't kill anyone unless they were standing in the way of a lot of money and that's not the case here.'

Let's try to be a little bit sensible.

Forget Kamsky. Chernenko's offer was a fraud. He and the whole team should be put in jail.

I think I know why Rustam refers to the Kamsky-Topalov match as the world championship. The match may not be the CHESS world championship, but now that Fischer is dead, the match is shaping up to be the undisputed world championship of (chess-related) paranoia. Silvio Danailov versus Rustam Kamsky should be a good one even if no chess is played.

I suggested that you post an explanation of irony along with every post Mig, ignore it at your peril

>It is libellous nonsense to suggest FIDE would >ever kill anyone for any reason.

or isn't ? FIDE is Kirsan as we all know.

The journalist Larisa Yudina was about to publish her findings on the eve of the 1998 Chess Olympiad, an event that the Glasnost Defence Foundation, a human-rights group based in Moscow, had pleaded players to boycott because, ‘you will eat and drink on money received by a racket - President Ilyumzhinov’s private fund, which is financed by an unlawful tribute by all the companies registered in Kalmykia’s offshore zone’.
In 1996, Yudina had described Ilyumzhinov to a Western newspaper as ‘a Khan, charming abroad but vengeful at home. If you are against him, that’s it.’ On the eve of the Chess Olympiad, her investigation into the tax haven still in progress, Yudina was stabbed to death, her body dumped near a pond.

Russianbear: "the match is shaping up to be the undisputed world championship of (chess-related) paranoia."

Agreed. But then again: If they actually meet and play, none of them will have won that title, right? I guess the champion will be the player who loses by default, then goes on to claim that he actually won by default. I predict a close race.

"This match shouldn't have existed to begin with, of course. If they just canceled it and made Kamsky the challenger I wouldn't shed a tear."

so Kramnik after losing the title in Mexico gets a free match with the world champion while Topalov after Elista shouldn't even get an invitation to Mexico nor a qualification match with Kamsky. Mig what silly logic is that?
also i find the idea that in case the match gets scrapped Kamsky should be the challenger a bit weird. lets face it he only won some K.O. in which many of the top players (Anand, Kramnik, Leko, Morozevich, Topalov, Gelfand....) didn't participate.

So two wrongs make a right? Kramnik getting a free match was also idiotic. I don't have to condemn both every time I mention one.

Kamsky won the World Cup, which was always intended to be the sole qualifier for the world championship match. Topalov's "qualification" was losing to Kramnik after winning a tournament in 2005. He played in Elista against Kramnik with the understanding the loser was out of the cycle. He was parachuted into this match with Kamsky by arm-twisting and bribery. Aka, the FIDE way.

I don't approve of big KO's for doing much of anything useful, certainly not as world championships. As qualifiers they're a little better; at least your going to get a serious match afterward. The bottom line is that he won the qualifier as the rules stipulated. You don't blame the guy who won.

Jean, the loser of the Kram-Top match being excluded from Mexico was Topalov/Danailov's idea. That was in the contract (rightly or wrongly) and both players signed it.

Kramnik had a rematch clause in his contract (rightly or wrongly) and both players signed it.

So Topa/Dana complained vociferously about being excluded from Mexico even though it was their idea, and as a result they were given a free match in a rather bizarre way.

As much as I enjoy Anand being champion, we shouldn't gift him a free payday by setting up Kamsky as a chump.

Does anyone really think Kamsky has a ghost of a chance against Topalov... let alone Anand? And don't say Sanghi Nagar, that was ages - and a very different Anand - ago.

Topalov has at least been in the top five in his lifetime. Kamsky is about as qualified as Sergei Movsesian.

But hey, he's an American, so at least a match with him would be profitable. Wouldn't be the first time they've given an American a special shot at the W.C. (cough, Fischer, cough), nor the first time an American has acted like a dink and screwed it up.

Jean, the loser of the Kram-Top match being excluded from Mexico was Topalov/Danailov's idea.

I didn't know that. But I do know there is absolutely no reason Kirsan (or Topalov, or anyone) would want Kamsky dead.

Chess, almost as absurd as boxing.

Mig, you said "The Stalin-Putin paranoia at the end was a nice touch."

I strongly disagree. That comment can serve no purpose other than to make Kirsan mad, or worse. The reality of the situation is that Kirsan can say fine, Kamsky is out at any point and that's just the sort of thing that would push him to do it. If you look at the whole letter soberly the final sentence is just bizarre.

What special shot? Kamsky won the qualifier. Would you prefer Magnus Carlsen or Alexei Shirov face Anand? Oh, that's right, Kamsky eliminated them in the QUALIFIER.

Since Kamsky came out of retirement in 2005 he has played Anand in three classical games and two blitz games. Two wins and one draw in classical for Kamsky. One win and one draw in blitz for Kamsky.

Kamsky was top five before his retirement.

The only thing special about Fischer's shot was one of his countrymen voluntarily gave up his spot to the Interzonal.

Kudos though, it's very rare to see a ratio of statement to false so close to 1:1 as in your post.

Yeah, Fischer got a special shot at the title just because he was an American. Those matches against Taimonov (6-0), Larsen (6-0), and Petrosian (6.5-2.5) were friendly matches between old friends and in no way gave Fischer a right to challenge Spassky.

The comment sections here are full of crazy.

Hot link for you, SetNoEscapeOn.


I know, I know, with FIDE and chess people it's hard to tell... That's why there can't be the equivalent of The Onion for chess. Reality is always more bizarre.

Haha- all right.

I'm surprised that one has brought up Susan Polgar's inappropriate conduct. She should be censured and dismissed.

So , u wouldn t shed a tear if the number 1 rated player gets excluded?
You want to punish Topalov because Elista?
Lets punish Kasparov for the knight incident with Polgar,lets punish Kramnik for not giving him rematch ,Lets punish Moro for not shaking hands with Topa and Chepa too, and so on.
Lets punish every chess player who did something really wrong in real life!
And then we can try to make a western without villans and gunshots!

"Kramnik getting a free match was also idiotic."

Kramnik had no interest in putting his match title on the line in a tournament but the Mexico City sponsors had already contracted for a WCC tournament. The adults in the room solved the problem by having Kramnik play in what was a defacto qualifier for a Kramnik title match. Over a year later the children still can't figure it out.

@greg koster
Kramnik should hate those adults in that room, they made him lose 2 matches...

Punish would imply taking away something earned, Manu. Topalov got something without earning it at the board because he could put together the cash. I'm not talking about the prize fund. You think the Bulgarians are annoyed about FIDE asking for $250K when so much has already been paid under the table just to get the match to exist in the first place? Yep.

Ditto with Kramnik, though it's no surprise Koster hasn't figured that out yet. I know his fans want to pretend he is the motive force behind anything and everything good this side of rainbows. Kramnik didn't play Topalov in Elista out of the kindness of his heart. He had no other way to remain relevant with Mexico City looming so he cashed in his dwindling chips while he could. His playing in Mexico was the consequence. I was glad the match took place, regardless of the whys.

FIDE didn't guarantee Kramnik a rematch after Mexico because they thought his match title was worth anything. FIDE guaranteed Kramnik a rematch because they got a chunk of money. It's the only reason they do anything. The so-called adults all got their pockets lined. If they hadn't already known Kramnik could put together millions in Bonn he would have been out of the picture after Mexico City.

Were Topalov someone without the backing to get FIDE's honchos to change their rules there wouldn't have been any mention of a match against the eventual World Cup winner. Same thing with Kramnik. Again, it's not criticism of him for playing his cards and exploiting his possibilities. It's about not losing your bearings about why these things happen with FIDE. It's not tradition and titles and "the right thing to do" and unicorns, it's money.

Place your bets now for the next perversion of the system. Will Kramnik play in the 2009 World Cup? Otherwise he's out of the loop until 2012. Or maybe he and Koster can come up with another reason for him to get special treatment. (Note that to get the Kamsky match Topalov had the same qualifications as Kramnik does now: losing a WCh match.) But if they do and it comes to pass, it won't be because of that reason. It will be because there is money behind it. Not that it will necessarily involve Kramnik or Topalov. I could see Anand losing to Topalov/Kamsky and having pull enough for a rematch, for example. Or even an Anand-Kramnik rematch if Topalov-Kamsky gets bogged down. Or, more far-fetched, Kasparov could raise a single eyebrow at any time and be led to the front of the line.

Until FIDE proves otherwise by actually following its own rules for a couple of years, it's money talks.

Manu, previous posts have already addressed your points. Key phrase is, "So two wrongs make a right?" Key words are "contract" and "signed".

@Daniel , sorry first time in this blog.
@Mig , thx for answering, i see your point .

Cool, more open letters.
From Bill, Susan, and Gata himself at
Some kind of chess-politico-reality-show going on...

Finally the ultimate game of the mind knocked the broadcast door and find himself surrounded with scandal and cheerleaders.
Im hearing Shakespierre whispering a big ¨i told you so¨ to us.

MIG -You may be right, but can you prove your accusations against Fide. Otherwise its pointless to make these remarks.

Reading all the open letters, I can’t help but think that this is a scam from the Kamsky camp. They don’t want to play in Bulgaria and make an offer without any real backing; somehow con Ilyumzhinov into guarantee the whole thing (saying something along the lines off, that the sponsors only need this to finally submit the money). Now the same people, who made this false offer, claim that fide / Ilyumzhinov must pay up.

But then again, the whole thing was mishandled from FIDE from the very start.

I have also forwarded an offer to FIDE for USD 10.000.000,00 to hold the mach in Venezuela. The money will be transferred to FIDEs account once FIDE have paid a small amount into my personal account to cover some minor administrative expenses.

I disagree on one item ...

Why blame Topalov now ? I find that somewhat childish. Blaming FIDE is fair game, but to blame the Topalov camp, that's far fetched.

Topalov and his team did not force FIDE to inserting Topalov into the cycle. If FIDE was paid, gee ... I suspect that 1 million dollars would not be enough. Why spend so much on FIDE just for a silly title ? Belaboring the point of special privileges is old. Wanna go back to 1975 ?

Now, Gata is stuck because his manager didn't find the funds. Looking for a scapegoat ? But, again, why blame Topalov now ? Why bring up the issue of 'Topalov didn't earn it, etc ...' ? Why did you sign up to play him in the first place ?

My admiration to Anand for his victory. However, until decided otherwise, they all signed up to unify the title in late 2009. Why not work together to make it happen ? That way, we can put this schism thing to rest forever.

Much kudos to you, Mig, for an excellent analysis of the truths of the situation.

Those of us with less information can only try to make an intelligent estimate of what is going on and point out obvious wrongs. Something that Koster (unlike the children) is obviously incapable of doing.
Koster's reason to give Kramnik another parachute will probably be that Kramnik should have a rematch of a match, not just of a result decided by a tournament.

As for your question to Mig, Rubinstein, isn't Kirsan's latest load of crap enough evidence for you?
Ilyumzhinov & Co. are just crooks and thugs. When is the chess world going to get its act together and unite against them?

Newsflash to Steve-Felix Belinga: the schism is over, the title is reunified. Anand is the world champion.

Mig confuses the "moral rights" of top players (i.e. a fair shot at a WCC match) with the "motives" of FIDE (money).

For match enthusiasts (which Mig claims to be): Having defeated Kasparov in 2000 and defended against Leko (2004) and Topalov (2006), Kramnik earned the moral right to defend his (Steinitzian) WCC title in a match.

For FIDE-tournament enthusiasts: Kramnik won the moral right to play the Bonn match by finishing second to Anand in Mexico City.

Either way, Kramnik earned the moral right to the Bonn match, and he used power/money/influence to achieve it.

In olden days, the WCC-match-loser was "air-dropped" into the FINAL EIGHT candidates matches, which seemed fair enough. More recently, WCC-match losers Kasparov and Topalov have used power/money/influence to get themselves air-dropped into a FINAL TWO candidates match, which seems at least a tad unfair to the other top players.

A moral politician's goal is to combine power and wisdom. If Kramnik was able for eight years to preserve the match tradition by lining the pockets of FIDE, Leko, Topalov, Anand, and himself, then God love him.

If Kramnik uses his money/power/influence to get himself air-dropped into a final Candidates match then we'll know he's just another schlub like Kasparov and Topalov.

Mig wrote: "Kamsky won the World Cup, which was always intended to be the sole qualifier for the world championship match. Topalov's "qualification" was losing to Kramnik after winning a tournament in 2005. He played in Elista against Kramnik with the understanding the loser was out of the cycle. He was parachuted into this match with Kamsky by arm-twisting and bribery. Aka, the FIDE way."

Topalov didn't won "a" tournament he won "the" tournament called the world championship (against people like Anand, Svidler, Morozevich, Leko, Adams...) and at the moment he's also number 1 on the rating list. Kamsky is number.. hmm i have no idea but he's not in the top 10. i don't know why you use the word bribery. if i remember correctly FIDE at the time had a rule that if you rated above 2700 and pay 1 million dollars (or something like that) you can challenge the world champion. and the rule wasn't invented by Topalov in fact when he was still the champion i think he was ready to accept such challenge. then it seems normal that afterwards the bulgarians wanted to use the rule to challenge Kramnik. FIDE didn't accept it over a technicality ( the bulgarians issued the challenge too late). however in the Kamsky case FIDE was ready to wait months and months. in light of that i think Mig it is unfair to claim that FIDE is giving Topalov special privilegies.

When you stop to think about it, this whole thing is sad. Everyone involved is a crook except poor Kamsky, who is himself getting dragged thru the mud.

1) Topalov was beaten by Kramnik. Period. He's not good enough to be WC.

2) Anand beat Kramnik. Period. So Topa lost to the guy who lost.

3) Kamsky is now 24th in world and no one would claim he is serious contender.

4) Polgar and Truong made idiots out of themselves and proved why they shouldn't be a part of US Chess.

5) FIDE/Ilyumzhinov - 'Nuff said!

>Mig it is unfair to claim that FIDE is giving >Topalov special privilegies.

The only never changing thing about Kirsan's FIDE is that its dates, formats, and rules are so whimsical and unpredictable that it is becomes impossible to argue logically on fairness.
"FIDE's way" is more a "free-style" where everything goes, including accusing and charging unfairness if you think it may help to add pressure, but better would do money, political help from Kremlin or from an important national federation.

If only Kamsky could get his hands on Larisa Yudina's papers with her findings on Kirsan's state-engineered racket. He would then blackmail Kirsan into playing in New York if wanted.
To this kind of arguments Kirsan is very receptive and quick to understand their strenght.

I hope the Bulgarian camp stays cool and refrains from making this a bigger issue.
Kamsky position is weak , he needs this match more than anyone.

Off-topic, but this is best recent thread for the subject (new US-born GM) of this email I sent some friends today:

I assume you heard (IM Larry) Kaufman earned GM title today, at age 65 or so, for taking 1st place in World Senior Open championship.

Well, there goes a dream of mine! (and of Tim Taylor's, who of course had 100 times greater probability of realizing it than I ever did) - becoming the first person in modern times to become a GM while over age 50.

I think all the "automatic" title events are a little bogus. It started with World Junior (automatic GM title to 1st place) at a time when that tournament was invariably super-super-strong...but ultimately deteriorated to the point where some people have been handed automatic IM titles for winning a regional youth event where the top FIDE rating was in the 2100s and the average rating might have been in the 1700s. (I'm not exaggerating - there was an African Boy's Zonal or something like that, where the highest-rated was in 2100s and got an automatic IM title for winning it.)

The World Senior isn't as bad as that, but an automatic GM title for the winner seems a bit much. This isn't meant to disparage Kaufman, who probably is GM strength, nor his achievement. (He racked up a dominating 9/11 against a field averaging around 2375 FIDE. And had he not known that a final-round draw with White would clinch first place and the GM title, he very well might have gotten to 9.5/11.)

On principle, though, it does seem like bypassing the norm qualification process for a tournament of that caliber cheapens the title. Maybe worth an automatic GM norm, but not an automatic title. (And I think awarding an automatic title for ANYTHING makes little sense and cheapens the title.)

Kamsky be #24 or #240 - it is irrelevant. He won the qualifier ahead of Carlsen, Aronian, Shirov etc. He is the challenger.

The main complaints against FIDE in this case appears to me as follows. Of Roustam, it is the lack of due process. Of Goichberg, it is the retracted guarantee. Of Gata, it is the crippled rights of the worldcup winner (if Gata was Kasimdzanov or Khalifman, Gata would be FIDE World Champion.)

There are at least these 3 issues before a Court and it would take at least 1 year if not 2 years or more to reach a decision.

Interesting question: would Anand be willing to play against Topalov or Kamsky or any other FIDE determined candidate when there is a Court case pending?

Chances are Anand would refuse to play against a legally dubious challenger. Anand to step in the footsteps of Kasparov in inducing a split?

FIDE slid toward irrelevance months after the Soviet collapse.
In the early 1990's FIDE was exposed as being unable to raise serious sponsorship money.

Kirsan purchased a revived role for FIDE by offering to funnel "his" money to chess players in exchange for the FIDE presidency.

But now even "guarantees" of prize money from Kirsan are exposed for their true worth. Kirsan's money supply was not endless.

Is Kirsan's FIDO again sliding toward irrelevance?

"Infirmus Gens Una Sumus"

Excellent analysis by Mig.

The letter by Kamsky is pitiful. The fact that Topalov gets this shot at the title is unfair, but it was known beforehand, Kamsky knew what he played for in Khanty. It's also absolutely clear that the only potential sponsor of this match is Bulgarian federation --- nobody else gives a damn. Gata had all the time he wanted to come up with an alternative bid, but failed. Therefore, under normal circumstances, Kirsan's ultimatum to Gata: play in Bulgaria or forfeit would be entirely logical and, frankly, the right thing to do.

Having said that, I have serious doubts that there would be a fair playing field if this match takes place in Bulgaria. Danailov and Co have seriously discredited themselves, therefore their involvement in the organization of this match is unacceptable, but it is unavoidable in Bulgaria. Moreover, should Topalov win such a match in Bulgaria, the speculations and allegations would never end. Therefore, Kamsky has every right to demand that this match is played outside of Bulgaria.

>Kirsan purchased a revived role for FIDE by >offering to funnel "his" money to chess players >in exchange for the FIDE presidency.

As soon as Kirsan's FIDE disappears chess will enter normality and become economically-healthy and professional in terms or competions, rules, and sponsorship just, say, tennis or golf.

It has to happen eventually, it has been long postponed (and indirectly ruined) since 1948 because the USSR dominance at top level (many pseudoamateurs GM who were living not as professionals from contracts and sponsorships but out of handouts from the soviet government, ie socialist economics).
Kirsan has perpetuated that since early '90 with money coming from taxing the retarded Kalmykian people.

After Kirsan dies there will more money in chess, or less, more self sustaing GMs, or less, but at any rate what will be will be just as it should be for a sport as chess, and it will look professional, not murky.

Kirsan the FIDE-God personally guaranteed the Ukranian bid. Because the original bid failed Kirsan MUST pay for the match to take place in Ukraine. Kamsky should definitely not play for 33.3% of the guaranteed prize and in a different location either. Sorry Kirsan: you were dumb to give the gurantee, but you did, so be a man and pay the prize for it - 750K into the match, thanks!

PS. Topalov should have been excluded from this 'cycle', because he fell into the hole he dug for Kramnik (=loser of Elista out of Mexico). But FIDE-God the Almighty can do anything: even parachute players from thin air into "Candidates' final"!

>Kirsan the FIDE-God personally guaranteed the >Ukranian bid. Because the original bid failed >Kirsan MUST pay for the match to take place in >Ukraine.

god is, by definition, all mighty, all powerful, thus he can not be binded or constrained by anything, not even by his own word or promise

Greater than a mere God, Kirsan can simultaneously craft a promise that not even he can break AND break it.

It seems like Mr Goitchberg did NOT do his homework correct!

What if the manufacturer recalls the product? How do you expect the retailer to still guarantee the product when there is no product?? :)

Also, Susan says, as a board member, she did not see the letter before it is published, but Mr Goitchberg claims majority agreed with his letter! Is that how the agreement in a matter supposed to work?? Or is that unique USCF style? You go one after the other you think would agree with you and once you have the majority by your side you just forget about the rest and go ahead with what you already planned to do??

Given that Mr Chernenko is

1. Kamky's manager

2. The crook who promised money that never existed

3. Mr Cherneko's lies were evident (to anyone with an IQ over 45!) from the beginning

the bulk of Kamky's anger should be directed at Chernenko, not FIDE.

In fact, FIDE is LUCKY to have a semi-retarded clown like Kirsan as president/sole sponsor.

Where is the sponsorship money that Bessel Kok promised?

Chess is full of cheaters and pathetic morons completely out of touch with reality. Sane people are a very small minority in chess circles.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 7, 2008 10:48 AM.

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