Hangin strikes again in  Chess Today

My slightly abridged letter was published in Chess Today - issue ct 142(1291). Friday May 21, 2004. 

    Chess Today abridged version    Full version 

I going to respond to some of the counter arguments

Chess Today:
    -     Kasparov campaigned against FIDE for years, so it looks weird that now FIDE now gives him great privileges;


 Hangin's take :  

   Well most chess players and fans have been unhappy with FIDE  for a quite some time now. I think FIDE realizes that it was a bad decision to keep the greatest world champion in chess history at arms length for over 10 years. FIDE should have repair this rift back in 1993. Maybe a few "I am sorries" could have fixed this. Maybe I am being very naive, but this  split should have been repaired years ago. I'm a chess fan, who caught the chess bug watching a great world championship match back in 1972.  It pains me to see what FIDE has done to the world championship.  Reunification is about forgiveness.  

Chess Today:

-    Kasparov was not declared the winner of the Ponomariov-Kasparov match, that match was cancelled! And Ponomariov was not disqualified, he is still (according to FIDE) the World Champion! So, the system when the champion has to start from stage 1, when the challenger (no matter how great a player he is!) is seeded into the final, is out of this world


 Hangin's take:

   The match was cancelled because Ponomariov refused to sign the contract to play in it. Ponomariov has changed his demands on numerous occasions.  First it was the time control issue, then it became the I want to keep my title until the reunification is complete. Now it's I want to play from round one in a knockout tournament. If the Kasparov vs. Ponomariov match was ok, why isn't the Kasparov vs. New FIDE Knockout winner  ok ?  All true world champions, upon losing their titles, have had either automatic rematch clauses or were seeded into the candidate process of the next championship cycle.

   Kasparov is only one match removed from his title. Kasparov has been a great champion in every sense of the word. He's been very active in tournaments, winning most. He has defended his title on numerous occasions against the best in the world. He's been a great ambassador to the game of chess. He's done a great job promoting this game around the world and introducing new fans to chess.    Kasparov is not being seeded into the final match of reunification, he is being seeded into the semi-final match. In order to regain the world title, he must defeat the winner of the Kramnik vs. Leko World Championship. I did not like the Prague agreement. I accepted it. So did a lot of players and chess leaders at the time. The best chess minds worked on Prague. Lets stay the course.

Chess Today:
  - Kasparov is a great player, but we are talking about a sporting contest here, so he still has to prove that he is stronger than the discussion while people talk

Hangin's take:

 - We are not talking about just a sporting event. It's about the process that chess uses to determine the best player. The goal of a world championship event is to find the best classical chess player in the world. A player who can be measured up against the former champions such as :Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Euwe, Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov, Kramnik. The last three FIDE knockouts have only produced one player worthy of consideration of being placed with the group above.  The problems with FIDE knockout  are numerous. Yasser Seirawan said it best, the FIDE knockout is one of the worst processes for choosing a world champion. Yasser calls it a lottery system. He's right.  It's a blitz crazed, grab bag process, that only produces Shampions, that's right - SHAMPIONS. This process has no business being used  to determine who is best at classical chess. When chess professionals support this process, they only devaluate their sport and themselves as athletes. Chess needs to go back to the glory days of world championships, when champion and challenger were both forged into steel by the process.  Kasparov became a champion back in 1985. Kasparov's road to the title was much harder than Ponomariov's road to his title.  Professional chess players should not stand for this. These players should also ask them self, how do I measure up against the  FIDE Knockout Champions?  If dozens can claim, hey I'm better, then we have serious problems. Chess should not devaluate it's rich tradition, it will only cheapen the sport. Chess players don't have to like their champions, but they should be proud of them or at least respect their abilities.