Hangin writes to Chess Today and Alex Baburin

Here is excerpts from issue ct102 (1250) , Saturday, April 10th 2004.  It has two letters about the Ponomariov open letter.


This issue is prepared by GM Alexander Baburin; technical editor: R. Marconi

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Letters to the Editor

In CT-1248 we published an Open Letter from FIDE World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. Here are two replies to that letter:

"Dear Alex,

Concerning Ponomariov's letter I would like to state a few things:

1. Nobody says that he 'cancelled' the match against Kasparov. He however

did not sign the bloody contract in time.

2. It was most probably just Danailov (everybody's manager) and other

irresponsible characters who influenced Ponomariov to play with

fire until he got burned. Now they all pretend to be surprised by the logical


3. I respect Ponomariov for becoming the K.O. Champion. I don't bother

checking his place in the Elo list - it's not all that important. But if somebody

is number one for 20 (twenty!) years like Kasparov, it is like Bobby

Fischer's 6-0 victories against Taimanov and Larsen! Ruslan does not

seem to realize that. Too bad.

4. I'm 54 now. I used to be younger and at those times I wanted to be a

Champion myself. But I was not strong enough for that. I only reached the

Candidates (it meant the best 8 then)

5. Respecting others (elders) does not make anybody smaller. Acting

differently is a safe way to lose sympathy of the people who did so

much for chess as you, Ruslan, must go a long way to catch up!

Greetings to everybody!

GM András Adorján, the Father of

BLACK is OK thesis"



And here is another, quite lengthy letter. While I don't agree with the

author on several points, his views are shared by many chess fans and are

worth showing here:

"Hi, Alex!

Ruslan Ponomariov is realizing that no one misses him. FIDE's decision to

cancel the match was completely justified. He simply refused to play the

match against Garry Kasparov. If FIDE can default Bobby Fischer, they

certainly can default Ruslan Ponomariov. He is now realizing that

FIDE Knockout champions are easily replaced and forgotten. You can easily

get a new FIDE champion by holding another grab bag, blitz crazed FIDE

Knockout Tournament. True World Champions are neither easily forgotten

nor easily replaced. Bobby Fischer and Anatoly Karpov are cases in point.

As I recall events:

1) Kasparov signed the contract, Ponomariov did not.

2) Ponomariov held up the reunification process over

unreasonable demands.

a) Ponomariov wanted draw odds.

b) Ponomariov did not want to use standard time controls, 40moves in 2

hours. He wanted 90 minutes and 30 second increments per move.

3) If Ponomariov wants to defend his title under similar conditions, then he

should play in the next FIDE Knockout Tournament.

4) Ponomariov passed up a great opportunity to play the strongest

player in the world for a nice sum of money. Ponomariov would have been

seeded in the next few future world championships. Ponomariov passed

up a 'no lose' situation. Ponomariov took unreasonable stances on basic issues. The first being time control. He did not want to play

using standard time controls. True World Championship matches have

been played using standard time controls, 40 moves in 2 hours. The

sixth World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik stated, "World

Championship matches are of competitive and creative importance".

So why not use the slower standard time controls and allow these matches

to be decided by the strongest player playing the strongest chess. This issue

should not have been a showstopper. Ponomariov other unreasonable

demand was that he wanted draw odds, just like Kramnik has with is

match against Peter Leko. In order to answer this draw odds question, we

must compare the two titles. Kramnik got his title by beating the man who

beat the man who beat the man. In 2000, Kramnik defeated then World

Champion Garry Kasparov, greatest World Champion ever, in a match by a

score of 2 wins, 13 draws, and zero losses. This was truly a great

accomplishment – Kramnik had climbed the Chess Olympus.

Ponomariov's title was won in the knockout tournament, which was

missing two best players in the world - Kasparov and Kramnik.

Kramnik's title follows rich tradition. It would be unconscionable to give

Ponomariov draw adds against the player who dominated chess for 20

years and who defended his title for 15 years in numerous matches. This

issue should not have been a showstopper either. Ponomariov failed to realize that a victory over Garry Kasparov would have given some legitimacy to the

FIDE Knockout Championship. It would have catapulted Ponomariov to

chess stardom. It would have increased his marketability for big

dollar matches. If Ponomariov wants to defend his title under the same

conditions he won it, then he should play in the upcoming FIDE Knockout

Tournament in Libya in September. Ponomariov wonders why the FIDE

knockout tournaments prize funds are shrinking. This can easily be

explained. How can FIDE hold championships when the top players

don't play in them? Ex Champion and number one player in the world, Garry

Kasparov and current World Champion Vladimir Kramnik will not play in the FIDE Knockout Championship. The FIDE process is not worthy of world championship

selection. The other reason for poor sponsorship is player like Ponomariov,

who make unreasonable demands and cause postponements of chess events.

Sponsors need to know who will play and when these events will take place.

All is not lost for Ponomariov - he is still a young and talented player. He

could become a true World Champion some day.

Matt Traynor, New Jersey, USA"