5/18/2004 My response :
Why do we
want to abandon the Prague agreement now? Back in late 2003, I saw no
hope. Now we have dates
scheduled for Kramnik vs. Leko and for the FIDE knockout tournament in
Tripoli. I see no reason to change course now.
I am confused by Yasser Seirawan, one of the fathers of Prague,
proposing that Kasparov step down as the challenger to the winner of Fide
Knockout. Why should Kasparov
be penalized by Ponomariovís
poor decision? Also, the
players refusing to play in Tripoli, because Kasparov is automatically
seeded in the reunification, couldnít beat Kasparov anyway.
Kasparov is needed for the changing of the guard. He has dominated
for 20 years and is only one match removed from the REAL TITLE, which he
defended numerous times against the best in the world.
In 1975, chess did not have a proper changing of the guard. However
the world championship process and Anatoly Karpov saved the chess world.
Yasser is absolutely correct when he claims the FIDE
Knockout process is one of the worst methods for choosing a champion.
Yasser calls it a lottery process. After reunification, Fide needs to
return to the system that produced: Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov.
As far as
Yasserís call for another 1948 style championship tournament consisting
of Kasparov and the previous winners of the FIDE Knockout, his proposal is
very unfair. Why do past FIDE
Knock out winners deserve special consideration? Only two of the players
are worthy of world championship contention (Anand, Kasparov). Instead of
having a tournament with Karpov (top 22), Khalifman (top 32) and
Ponomariov (top 10) , why not include Topalov (top 5), Svidler (top 6),
Morozevich (top 7). These players are a lot more deserving of
consideration in such a tournament.
not forget the 1948 World Championship tournament included 5 of the best
players in the world. I would
much rather see Kasparov vs. Anand in a 12 game match, that could be
another Ali vs. Frasier two. There is precedence for such a match.
In 1978 Bobby Fischer refused his right, as a true ex world
champion, to be seeded in the 1978 world championship cycle. Fide stayed
the course by selecting Bobby Fischerís predecessor, Boris Spassky.
Should Tripoli fall through, FIDE is well within its rights to select
Anand as Ponomariovís replacement. Kasparov brings great value into
the reunification process. For the good of the reunification, Kasparov
should only be eliminated via match play. This is the only way
Kasparovís value can be passed to another player.
As far as repeating
the mistakes of 97-98 by seeding Kasparov into the final, the real problem
in 98 was not giving Anand enough time to recharge before playing Karpov.
This time, the Tripoli knock out winner has up to one year to play
Kasparov. The mistake thatís being recast here is the Knockout process
itself. Itís a lottery. Itís a blitz crazed, grab bag process. A
bigger mistake would be to ask Kasparov to play from round one have him
get eliminated in the third round because he had a bad tuna sandwich.
Kasparov is important to reunification; he must factor in it
significantly. Kasparov is
not being seeded into the finals; heís being seeded into the semi final
match of the reunification.
that knowing the contestants before hand before pressing local
national sponsors is ridiculous. He
feels hosting should be determined years before the finalists are known.
I could not disagree more. Chess championships are not like the
Olympics. Chess is like Boxing. The event is not so important; itís the
talent in the event that brings excitement to sponsors and fans. Sponsors
and fans will pay a lot more money to see Ali vs. Joe Frazier, than to see
Tyson vs. Marvis Frazier (got knockout in 30 seconds.). Sponsors will play
top dollar for Bobby Fischer to play. Kramnik vs. Kasparov will fetch more
dollars than Leko vs. Ponomariov. What makes a championship chess or
boxing match exciting is having the best going toe to toe and not knowing
whoís going to win.
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.
allow Ponomariovís poor decision-making to throw reunification off
course. The Chess World needs to make better use of the Internet and get
back to the glory days of the World Championship, when both champion and
challenger were forged
into steel by the process. Whatís wrong with going back to the old
style world championship process? I
really would like to know. I
would also like for Yasser to reconsider his retirement and play in one
more US Championship.