Your Honor, members of the jury, today, I will make the case for the
Kramnik vs. Topalov chess world championship match. I will prove
today, that both champions' titles have flaws, but these flaws can be
repaired. I will prove, beyond a shadow of doubt that the 14th
Classical Chess World Champion, Vladimir Kramnik is a worthy champion.
I will also prove why the current FIDE Champion, Veselin Topalov
should accept Kramnik's challenge.
Topalov feels that Kramnik is not a worthy
contender, because he is only rated 7th in the world.
However, the case for Kramnik is very strong. In 2000, he did
decisively defeat Garry Kasparov. This victory was significant in many
ways, Kramnik defeated the greatest champion in chess history, who
happened to be the highest rated player of all time, and the only man,
at the time, rated over 2800. Kramnik also became the 2nd
man to break the 2800 barrier, when his rating hit 2808 in 2002.
Kramnik also was the last man to really take it to the silicon beasts,
when he took two games from Deep Fritz in Bahrain in 2002.
Since winning his title, Kramnik has won Amber and Linares twice.
He finished in 2nd place at Dortmund twice. He also was the
runner up to Anand at Cap De Age. Although Kramnik had a horrible
year in 2005, he had a very good year in 2004, with first place
finishes at Linares and Amber, and a 2nd place finish at
Dortmund, behind Anand. Vladimir Kramnik finished 2004 by retaining
his title against Peter Leko at Brissago, Switzerland. At 30 years of
age, Kramnik canít be written off yet.
There is no question that Veselin Topalov had a dominating year in
2005. He started out with a 3rd place finish at Corus, and
followed up with two first places at Linares and Sophia. Topalov
finished the year off by taking first at the San Luis FIDE
Championship. He took the lead early and never relinquished it. At San
Luis, he became the third man in chess history to break the 2800
I think that both
Kramnik and Topalov need each other in order to make their titles more
legitimate. Each player's title has serious flaws. However, these
flaws can be repaired.
flaw is that people believe he was undeserving in his title shot
against Kasparov in 2000. Kramnik didnít have to qualify in an
interzonal and win three candidate matches, as prior challengers did.
This is backed up by the fact that Kramnik lost to Shirov in a
candidate match in 1998. But we really canít hold this against
Kramnik. In 2000, Kasparov asked Kramnik to play a match for the world
championship. Kramnik wisely accepted the challenge and went on to
become the 14th chess world champion.
The flaw with Veselin Topalovís title is that he didnít gain it
by beating a world champion in a match. Many people feel that all
Topalov accomplished at San Luis was winning an old style interzonal
tournament. Even though Topalov dominated the chess world in 2005 by
winning 3 tournaments, he didnít have to win three candidate matches
and mano-a-mano contest against a world champion. So his title is
flawed as well.
I believe you canít win a title by winning a double round robin
tournament. In 1948, Mikhail Botvinnik won his title in a 5 round
robin tournament against 4 of the top players in the world. Botvinnik
won all of his matches against Smyslov, Reshevsky, Euwe, and Keres.
Botvinnik shored up his title by having successful world championship
matches against Bronstein, Smyslov, and Tal. Whereas at San
Luis, Topalov won all of his 2 game matches, except for his drawn
match against Vishy Anand, who was the top rated player in the
Lets not forget that Capablanca faced a similar decision back in
1921. It was a fading 53-year-old champion, Emanuel Lasker, who wanted
to renounce his chess crown and bequeath it to Capablanca. Even
though Capablanca was the dominant player during that time, he wisely
knew that he had to play a match to win the true title. Lasker even
insisted at being called the challenger. The match was played in Cuba
in 1921; Capablanca won it decisively in 15 games with 4 wins and no
loses. I guess that Capablanca knew that there was a power transfer
during a decisive match against the world champion.
Should Topalov choose not to play such a match, then for the rest of
his life, he will hear the proverbial ď you never won the big oneĒ
from every chess journalist. Topalov will be without a defense,
especially considering Team Kramnik already found a willing sponsor
and has issued the challenge.
I suggest Topalov
and Kramnik fix their flawed titles by playing a world championship
match. The man who beat the man tradition is worth continuing by the
worldís top players. This title has value.
Since this match is only 12-14 games long, I donít think the
champion should retain the title on a tie. There needs to be a
tiebreak blitz process, so that a decisive champion can emerge. In
the shortened match format, a tie is too much of an advantage for the
Topalov by defeating Kramnik can inherit the bloodline of past
champions from Steinitz to Kramnik. Kramnik can add to his legacy by
defeating another 2800+ player named Veselin Topalov. The chess world
would benefit from a Topalov vs. Kramnik match. Moreover, this match
would heal the fracture chess world.
Your Honor, members of the jury, the defense rests.