Hangin's take on Kramnik's latest interview

5/17/2005 - Kramnik did an interview in Germany recently. He had some very interesting comments on various topics..

 Excerpts from Kramnik's interview:

It is probably pointless to ask you to compare the value of your title with that of the FIDE world championÖ

I consider my title to be more valuable. In this respect I am not alone. A vast majority of the public and most of the chess players agree with me. The knockout world championships of FIDE have experimental character. If I had the choice between the two titles I would not doubt for a second that it is right to win the chess crown in a one-to-one match against the reigning world champion. And even more so if, as in my case, the world champion was a player of Kasparovís stature. I am very glad about these circumstances and will work hard to preserve the classical line of the world championship.

Hangin's take: No question about it, Kramnik's title is far more valuable than the FIDE KO title.  Kramnik's title is based on the great tradition of the man who beat the man who beat the man. The FIDE KO title is an exciting, grab bag ,blitz, crazed process. The FIDE KO champions have not proven to be the top players in the world. Kramnik got his title by defeating the greatest world champion in chess history. Kramnik did this in a decisive manner by winning 2 games and drawing 13. But Kramnik has not been a dominating chess player. He was for a while. He is the 2nd man to break the 2800 rating barrier and was  the number two rated player in the world. But this was back in early 2002. Since then Kramnik has had mixed results. He has dropped to the 5th rating spot in the world. He been rather lackluster since narrowly keeping his title back in October 2004. Kramnik has not been impressive since.

At Amber in 2005, Kramnik finished in 5th place out of 12 with 55% score.  Kramnik also made a mistake by bypassing Kasparov, Anand, Leko and Topalov at Linares.  Kramnik was also not impressive at Corus 2005. He finished  7th out of 14 places with a 55% score.  This is certainly not an impressive showing for the world champion. Kramnik has been experimenting with his openings. He was a d4 player, but now he's playing 1 e4 exclusively. Now it is good to learn new openings, but as a world champion, you must also be concerned about your showing in major tournaments. The champion should try to dominate. Kramnik should vary his opening choices and play to his strength.


Kramnik excerpts:   

You recently announced that you would not take part in the FIDE tournament with the eight best players in the world this autumn in Argentina. Why?

We have to go back to the year 2002 in Prague, where it all started. The agreements we signed there were not proposed by me but by FIDE. I was not opposed to them and accepted these agreements. And I fulfilled my part of the bargain by playing a match against Peter Leko and defending my title. So I cannot understand how the unsolved problems with the FIDE match should influence my situation. It is not logical.

How do you think FIDE should solve the impasse?

Only with fairness. Whatever they have tried in the past or are doing now to find a champion, whether it be a duel Kasparov-Ponomariov, Kasparov-Kasimdzhanov or in a new tournament, doesnít make any difference to me. I am only concerned with one point: I am ready to play a reunification match for the title against the FIDE world champion. How they find my opponent is their problem. For this reason I do not understand why people are mixing everything up now. Why should I play in a tournament? In order to qualify? Why do the conditions for me have to change? I can see absolutely no reason to change the Prague agreement at this stage. Once again: I am willing to play against the winner of the tournament in Argentina (if it actually takes place).


 Hangin's take: Well Kramnik made some controversial comments that gave the impression to some, that he would not play the winner of the Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov match.  He said he didn't understand why those two were playing for the world championship. Kramnik said that he agreed to play the winner of the Kasparov vs. Ponomariov match, which never too place because of Ponomariov's grand standing. Kramnik could have given more support to FIDE and the Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov match. It looks as though Kramnik really is ducking Kasparov. Kasparov has retired and the Kasimdzhanov match has been cancelled. Now Kramnik says he would have played the winner of Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov. If Kramnik was more supportive of FIDE, maybe FIDE would have had the winner of the new FIDE tournament play Kramnik for the title.


Kramnik's Interview:

There are a lot of people who fear that with Kasparovís departure the figurehead of chess will be missing.

For the chess world it is of course a pity that Kasparov is no longer there, that he will not be playing in tournaments any more. But it is a normal human decision and quite understandable, seeing that he has achieved everything there is in his chess career. Now he wants to prove his mettle in a different field. It is a result of his inner workings, and certainly also because he has become tired of chess. Just count the number of years that he has been a chess professional.


Hangin's take: Well no doubt chess will not be the same without Garry Kasparov, one of the most exciting players ever. When Kramnik took the title from Kasparov back in 2000, there was a partial changing of the guard. Kramnik has not been the dominating champion that Kasparov and Karpov were.  With Kasparov's departure, there are many who will be impacted, but Kramnik might be the most impacted. He claimed to have 2 million dollar match with Kasparov at any time. Now with Kasparov's retirement, this pay day is in doubt. One thing is certain, the biggest money draw for Kramnik's next title defense will be Kasparov. If Kramnik is smart, he will draw Kasparov out of retirement with the promise of a title shot.  This would be an exciting match and good for chess. One thing that drove Kasparov to pursue his political yearnings, was the lack of a title shot opportunity. 

 Here is the full interview on chessbase - http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=2376
 Vladimir Kramnik - Chess Reporter pieces.