Kirsan did a recent interview in a Russian sports
paper. The Prague reunification agreement was signed in May of 2002. Its
job was to unify the chess world championship that split in 1993.
It's been three years and FIDE has yet to live up to its end of the
unification. This process was not that hard. All FIDE had to do was find a
match for Garry Kasparov, the greatest world champion and arguably the
greatest player in chess history. Garry is still the number one rated
player in the world. Without question, he is the greatest ambassador this
game ever had. He is still at the top or near the top of his playing
strength. So why couldn't FIDE find a sponsor that would make the
proper prematch financial preparations? FIDE failed on many fronts.
1) FIDE ass dragged. They didn't show the urgency that a
unification required. FIDE allowed the Ponomariov debacle to linger much
too long. When Ponomariov refused to sign a contract to play. FIDE should
have acted swiftly. However, they didn't find his replacement until August
of 2004. Bottom line, you can't jerk your top players and fans around.
Reunification should have completed a year ago. We should be a year and
half into the next world championship cycle.
2) Reunification was just a state of mind. They should
have unified first, then found a top challenger for Kasparov. FIDE never
gave Vladimir Kramnik the respect he deserves for defeating Garry Kasparov
in the 2000 Brain Games World Championship. During the recent Kramnik vs. Leko world championship
match, FIDE never even mentioned this great match on its web site. FIDE
did little if any thing to help find sponsorship or help promote this
match. Failure to properly acknowledge the 14th World Champion
Vladimir Kramnik and his match, did not ingratiate Kramnik to the
reunification process. Kramnik is unwilling to be flexible to the ever
changing FIDE plans. But, who can blame him, FIDE hasn't lived up to its
3) FIDE never found a sexy match up for Kasparov, namely a top 5
opponent. Great matches require two top opponents. If you want great
sponsorship you must have a sexy match up. The FIDE KO is a very exciting
tournament, but it is too prone for unpredictable and wild outcomes.
Anyone can win the FIDE KO. That's not a good method for finding a worthy
challenger for Kasparov. The KO winner, Rustam Kasimdzhanov was the 27th
seed in the tournament. He was top 52nd in the world. He is not a
sexy opponent for Kasparov. So this limited sponsorship. The other problem
is that your top players won't dignify the KO as a world championship
4) FIDE did a poor job managing the sponsorship process for the
Kirsan: We sent an official letter to Kasparov, where we requested him to reply in writing to one question: what doesn’t he want – to play with Kasimdzhanov in this April, or to participate in the World Championship at all. So far Garry has not replied to this letter.
Vasiliev :As far as I know, you usually communicated with Kasparov by mobile phones. You could have asked this directly on the phone.
Kirsan :Yes, we did talk a lot, sometimes, several times a day on the phone. But this is a special case. It was Kasparov who wrote an open letter to FIDE. Let him reply in writing.
Hangin take : Well Kasparov was totally frustrated by the process taking
over 3 years. The reunification plan had problem after problem. Garry
wants to stay in touch with his fans. Garry has been very patient with
FIDE and very patient with all the problems. You can only take so much.
Due to all the aborted matches, Kasparov has lost a lot of opportunities
to play in other tournaments, like Corus 2005. You can't keep a great player like Kasparov on hold
for 3 years. That's not right.
Y. Vasiliev: What about the next FIDE World Championship? When and where will it take place?
Kirsan: As for the next World Cup (this is how it is now called), it is to take place in this year’s December. We have the consent of the Government of Vietnam to organize this tournament in Ho Chi Min. Besides, the leaders of another country (I am reluctant to name it so far) offered to host three knock-out tournaments and three Women’s World Championships. The representative of this country will present his official proposal during the PB meeting in Tbilisi. Then it will be up to the Board to agree or not.
Hangin's take: Changing the name from world championship to
world cup is a great decision. The KO was an exciting tournament. Too bad
the true world champions don't play in it, namely Kramnik, Kasparov and
Karpov. The reason is the world champions don't want to
dignify this event as a world championship process. Karpov and Kasparov
went thru hell and back to become world champions. They climbed the
highest mountain. They showed that they were deserving of being a world
champion by defeating the top players in the world and by defeating a
world champion. This name change opens the door for Kasparov, Kramnik and Karpov to
play in this exciting tournament. They don't have to worry about risking
their titles or their places in the world championship history.