Hangin addresses readers questions
 about the Adams' interview from Libya

 I received an email from a reader on 7/25/2004. He makes some interesting comments about my take on the Adams interview form Libya. 

 Issues raised by the email:

 1) does the World Champion really NEED to be the best player in the world? Personally, I think too much has been made of having the top-ranked player & world champion be one individual. Why can't the world champion be ranked #4, or whatever.

 2)   I think the paradigm needs to shift away from systems like 'boxing' (where egos and personal vendettas reign supreme and affect the scheduling of possible match-ups), and move toward systems like 'tennis' (where the organization of tournaments and matches are predictable and fall outside of the influence of 'who' is #1 at the time).

 3) getting reliable sponsorship and scheduling for world championship cycles. Sponsors don't want to invest in a system that isn't reliable, and might or might not be regarded as 'the' world championship as a number of world championships have been in the past.


  Does the world champion need to be the number 1 player in the world ?

Hangin's take:

    No, but we have to respect the process of how the champion got there. The situation with FIDE today is that any one in the top 1/3 of the draw can win the KO. Also when we do get a top player who wins the KO, like Anand did in 1997 and 2001, we are always left with the question of he didn't beat Kasparov or Kramnik. Anand won both KO's with only 8 wins against 6 opponents. That test is not tough enough. Ponomariov won 12 games against 7 opponents when he became FIDE KO Champion in 2002. Kasimdzhanov won 15 games against 7 opponents to become FIDE KO Champ in 2004. We also have to remember this KO includes  128  players. So a lot of the players are not world championship caliber. There are numerous other issues with the FIDE KO as a world championship process. The FIDE KO is nothing more than a tournament. You should not become a classical world champion by getting hot during a 3 week tournament.
    Now if you look at the successful runs of the true Champions:

             1) Spassky won 27 games in his failed attempt in 1966, he won 17 in his successful run to the title.

             2) Fischer won 38 games in his successful attempt in 1972. 

             3) Karpov won 20 games in his successful attempt in 1975. Even though no world championship match took place, he still won a lot of games.

             4) Kasparov had to win 27 games in his successful attempt in 1985, this includes both world championship matches in 1984-the aborted one- and the 1985 match.

 We also have to remember these  champions won games against the top 20-25 players in the world. During the World Championship glory days, 1966-1993, there were times when the champion was not the number one player in the world. In 1972 Bobby Fischer was rated higher than Spassky, but no one should have felt Spassky was no longer the world champion. After all Spassky road to the title was the toughest. Also during 1984 Garry Kasparov was rated higher than Karpov, however no one should have had a problem with Karpov being world champion. He twice successfully defended his title against the best of the rest, Victor Kortchnoi. Karpov also had an incredible tournament record.



Do we need to get away from boxing paradigm ? ( where egos and personal vendettas reign supreme and affecting the scheduling of possible match ups),

Hangin's take :

  Boxing and chess are close cousins, they can both trace their champions back thru history in man who beat the man contests. Chess needs to preserve its rich tradition. It hold value. The champion will inspire many fans to take up the sport. In fact boxing should follow the chess paradigm of the 1966-1993 period. Boxing rankings are arbitrary to a degree. Title matches are arranged by promoters. During chess' hey day, 1966-1993, no promoter decided who the champion would play. FIDE created a process that allowed the best of the rest to fight it out in zonal, interzonal and candidate matches. Only the strongest, toughest, and hungriest could make it through this tough process. It was a forging of iron to steel. It assured the toughest challenge for the title.

 As far as personal vendettas and egos, if Victor Kortchnoi can sit down across from Anatoly Karpov in three world championship matches, 1974, 1978, and 1981, they can be overcome.  Ruslan Ponomariov was a case of a young person having too little success too soon. He blew a great opportunity.

 Judge the system to decide who should be world champion, on the following issues:
      1) media coverage of the process. 
      2) the champions they produce.  It needs to produce proud champions that every one can respect.
      3) how the system works when it breaks down. When Bobby Fischer refused to defend his title, Karpov step in. Anatoly Karpov proved he was a worthy champion, not by dominating tournaments in the 70's, but by his hard road to win the right to challenge for the title. Karpov great tournament record only confirmed his greatness.
      4) how many new fans are inspired by the world championship match. 


 getting reliable sponsorship and scheduling for world championship cycles ?

Hangin's take:

 We need to get back to the old system after Reunification.

    FIDE should break up and open up this process so that more sponsors can bid. Spread this process and the cost over time and geography. Spread the chess love around. Allow cities or countries with up and coming chess talent to host a part of this process. Allow the local people to root for their homeboys and homegirls and see some of the international chess stars. A good World Championship process is like a fine wine; let more people take a sip. Spreading the process over time and geography will bring more young fans and media coverage into this great game. In the long run, more money will be raised for these events. Make the process more affordable for sponsors around the world. Showcase your great talent around the world. Yasser was right, a properly run World Championship process is the Crown Jewel of Chess. The process needs to enrich the players, promote the game around the world, introduce new fans to this great game, and finally, to find a worthy proud World Champion.