Dennis M's Chess Site

This is a blog for chess fans by a chess fan. I enjoy winning as much as anyone else, and I've had a reasonable amount of success as a competitor, but what keeps me coming back to the game is its beauty. And that, primarily, is what this site will be about! All material copyrighted.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

World Championship News?

The last few days have seen some interesting but surprising developments on the world chess championship front. Since 1993, when then-champion Garry Kasparov and challenger Nigel Short bolted from FIDE and arranged their match under different auspices, the title has been divided. Reunification has been a goal for years, one seemingly within reach due to the 2002 Prague Agreement.

Of late, however, things have been falling apart. It was hoped that Kasparov would play Rustam Kasimdzhanov for the FIDE title, with the winner playing Vladimir Kramnik for the unified championship crown. Financial problems have plagued the Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match, and Kasparov seems to have dropped out of the reunification process.

Now, if reunification is the goal, then wouldn't the obvious solution be a Kramnik-Kasimdzhanov match? Apparently, this lack of complexity is a fatal impediment, and so FIDE has offered the following two recent announcements.

First, even though it couldn't secure enough money for the Kasparov match, they have found Vietnamese sponsors to pony up 2.5 million for another FIDE knockout championship later this year. Such events are entertaining in their own right and offer the players a nice payday, but it doesn't do anything to resolve the fundamental reunification problem. In fact, it makes things worse: is Kasimdzhanov really supposed to play Kasparov (or Anand or Leko - see below), then Kramnik and then play in this event too, assuming he wins the preliminary matches? That places a pretty insane burden on him (or Kasparov/Anand/Leko), to put it mildly.

(An aside: FIDE has certainly come up with a bizarre list of sites for their championship events the past few years: Tehran, Tripoli [where Israelites and orthodox Jewish players were denied visas] and now Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Was Darfur unavailable?)

The second news item of interest concerns the fate of the aforementioned Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov match. Since Kasparov has declared himself unwilling to wait, FIDE is considering replacing him with Viswanathan Anand or Peter Leko. Both are great players, and if anyone deserves automatic seeding without qualification, it's Anand. Still, it's very hard to see how this idea could work in light of the Vietnam event. A venue and price fund for the Kasimdzhanov-Anand/Leko match needs to be found, they'd need to prepare and play, and then go through the same procedure with Kramnik. All that by the end of the year, with time for the players to rest and renew their preparation? Not gonna happen.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the question in the title of this post has no for an answer: an event that can't happen isn't an event, and news of a non-event isn't really news. Sorry, reunification fans, but it's business as usual.


Post a Comment

<< Home