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FIDE Candidate Tournament Mystery

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[An unofficial guest blog post from frogbert in the comments (who can have his real name used if he so requests).]

Regarding the "candidate event" to decide the challenger to the winner of the Anand-Topalov world championship match, there has been one important piece of information missing so far.

We know that Kamsky is in
We know that one of Anand/Topalov is in
We know the WCC 2009 winner is in
We know the top 2 from the Grand Prix are in
We know that an organizer nominee is in
We know that the nominee must be 2700+
We know 2700+ here refers to the January 2010 list
We know 2 players qualify based on rating

But we DON'T KNOW which rating list(s) will be used to decide which players qualify based on rating.

From a reliable and trustworthy source, I've learnt that one of the (many) FIDE Presidents [i.e. not the president of FIDE but another title holder] has communicated to a limited audience that the two lists in question are _the July 2009 and the January 2010 lists_.

I don't know any specifics about how things will be weighted, if there will be any activity demands (say, what if you stay inactive from July 2009 to January 2010?), how potential ties will be broken, and so on. However, IF this indeed will be the outcome of the rating qualification criteria, then I strongly believe that ALL potentially affected players should be officially informed by FIDE.

Both which list(s) and other specifics about the criteria should be decided well in advance, _documented_ and made public, so that no foul play around this would be possible. In case FIDE wants to keep which list(s) and detailed rules a secret, then it still should be _decided_ and documented well _in advance_ of any relevant list publication, to reduce the possibility for fitting rules to a certain reality. And obviously: no player(s) should be given information that are unavailable to others.

In fact, even communicating such information to a limited number of players is wrong regardless, whether the info is correct or not. Giving incorrect info to someone is also a way of influencing matters in an undesirable and questionable way.

I wonder when we will hear any "official news" from FIDE about this.

Of course FIDE is against transparency and predictability! Aside from their genetic desire to keep secrets, because knowledge is power, there is always a practical side to keeping people guessing. It's more difficult to work the levers of favoritism and corruption if there are open standards. Or at least it's more embarrassing. FIDE has shown no qualms about making sudden and bizarre changes to the rules, mind you. This candidates event is itself a fine example, coming out of nowhere in violation of the written rules of qualification and justified with little more than a Kalmykian middle finger.

And just as of course, they should have open and fixed rules to prevent shenanigans. Since they already have a wildcard, which is horrible, they shouldn't need to jigger the rating list qualifications to make sure they get who they want and/or who pays the most. But the motto of FIDE and most of their ilk is to do whatever it takes to maintain the most influence over any given income. I mean, outcome. I still hope the entire thing disappears.


What is striking is why the ACP and the players aren't more united in the whole process. FIDE is looking to break their own records and yet nothing can be spotted from the other side. In every sport who can say is remotely organised, there's a strong players association, defending them from abuse and standing against Federations (which are usually corrupt) and even proposing and organizing a big part of the usual activity of their sport (hence tennis ATP is the one in charge of the players ranking, in soccer they defend players from clubs not paying them, and so on) But in chess players are left alone (would it be their own fault or not) and so, who can stop FIDE for doing what they want? It will never be outside sponsors, their relationship with the game isn't as close. Only the players can fight against FIDE and the chess world only will get some normality when they decide to do so.

"From a reliable and trustworthy source, I've learnt that one of the (many) FIDE Presidents [vice-presidents, I assume -Mig] has communicated to a limited audience ..."

Mig, it's true that it wasn't _the_ FIDE President - the "communicator" wasn't Mr Ilyumzhinov himself. But FIDE has a pletora of various president titles (continental, honorary, vice, etc.) and presidents - see this link for an overview of all of them: http://www.fide.com/fide/directory/fide-officials?comid=1&task=committee - hence my wording was on PURPOSE as little concrete as possible, in order to protect the identity of my source.

Due to my "geographical closeness" to the Carlsens, and since it already has been speculated somewhere else, I'd like to explicitly say that neither Henrik nor Magnus has provided me with this info. But that's all I intend to say about it.

Whether you use my real name or my "internet forum name" above is probably not very important. I think the important thing is that FIDE makes an official statement about which list(s) will be used to select the 2 rating qualifiers for the candidate event, and that this happens sooner rather than later.

"[I think that should be "one of Anand/Topalov" since Kamsky is guaranteed, to my knowledge. -Mig]"

Yeah, my mistake. Changing the main article to read like this, is probably less confusing:

We know that Kamsky is in
We know that one of Anand/Topalov is in

Thanks for noticing.

"What is striking is why the ACP and the players aren't more united in the whole process. "

I think part of the problem is that some members of the current group of elite players _probably_ feel that the current "system" is to their advantage and that they benefit from an ability to have (unofficial) influence and people within FIDE that presumably care more for some players' or federations' interests than others.

Hence, the player group itself isn't united as the players consider their interests to be taken care of (already) in varying degrees.

So, all what is left for fans to do is to put pressure on them. With the other players and journalists who may want to do so. Because everyone claims FIDE is a mess, but nobody is doing much. The Grand Prix example was quite clear in that sense. Anyway, what a waste, everyone agree that with a proper organization chess would be quite marketable. It has been proven in the past. Even players love things when they're done the normal way. When reading the comments about the Candidates tournament in Elista, every player was thrilled about playing such a tournament. Real good old-time matches. I don't know, it doesn't seem that hard to realize. I agree however, that it won't be easy to dislodge the current status of some elite players. It being hard doesn't mean it can't be done, isn't it?

Have there been any notable examples of FIDE caving to fan pressure?

I guess not, but maybe _players_ would be a little sensitive to "pressure" from fans?

I would agree that I'd like to see the whole thing disappear. It's all such an embarrassment to chess. Then I realized the real reason behind these constant changes: Kirsan is clearly making it all too complicated and confusing for any outside journalist to coherently write about, so no one will ever know!

As long as Kirsan is referred to as "His Excellency", consider keeping your expectations low.

It became painfully clear to me during the Dresden Olympiad / FIDE General Assembly that all the participants in FIDE – bar none – are out for their own benefit, and there are many rifts among the (many) FIDE presidents and other officers, not to mention the GMs and all organizers.

ACP has proved itself practically useless, but they are a group whose main occupation seems to be to put on some tournaments in opposition to FIDE, while espousing cooperation. The only group who has succeeded in running tournaments successfully is the one run by Silvio Danailov (I’ve forgotten the name – it is purposely close to ACP and FIDE names). But, he coordinated already strong, well known tournaments, some of whom were having financial difficulties.

US President Obama gave a fine speech today, and if we would substitute some of the groups and countries he spoke about for our own chess groups, including fans, we might have the beginnings of a solution.

Obama’s main point was that we should recognize each other’s good points and follow the precept of not doing anything to someone else that we would not want them to do to us.

If only…

"Anyway, what a waste, everyone agree that with a proper organization chess would be quite marketable."

Honestly: I don't really agree. No-one except Fischer and to lesser extent Kasparov (thanks to his rivalry with Karpov) have been able to capture the intrest of non-chess crowds. If was just as simple as you say some rival organisation would have blown FIDE out of the watter long ago.

I've typed it before and I'm certain I'll type it again. The top chess-playing nations need to leave FIDE and form a serious organization.

haha, frogbert thinks he is the man.. but what does he know, and what influence does he have. right, Z E R O

Do you perchance work in international diplomacy, Lork?

Yup. Lork's the men's room attendant at the UN.

I suspected as much. He is looking rather flushed.

With a 2017 FIDE rating in April, expected to drop 8 points, I think my estimated July rating of 2009 (that's 2009 points, not the year 2009) might fall a little short of qualifying for the candidates. Even given a huge improvement on the January 2010 list.

But the Lork is right - I don't know him or anyone similarly influential. I don't even have Lork's email address, so what was I thinking? I'll refrain from giving my opinion on anything FIDE in the future - that is, unless Lork says it's ok that I speak my mind.

frogbert wrote: _We know that one of Anand/Topalov is in_

What is Anands rights IF HE LOOSE the title to Topalov in the upcoming WC-match? Is Anand guaranteed a ticket to the 8-man candidate, or does he have to qualify by Elo-rating only?

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 4, 2009 12:41 AM.

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