Hangin's take on Ponomariov's new proposal 

 05/22/2004   

  Ponomariovís latest proposal calls for a 48-style championship tournament consisting of Anand, Kasparov, Ponomariov, Kramnik, Leko and the new FIDE Knockout winner.

    I see no reason to include two FIDE Knockout winners. One is enough. There are players more deserving of consideration, namely Topalov (top 5), Svidler (top 6), and Morozevich (top 7).   I think that Kasparov should refrain from a 48-style tournament. There seems to be so much Anti-Kasparov sentiment, I would worry that the players would conspire against Kasparov. This occurred to Bobby Fischer in the Curacao tournament in 1962. The top soviet players agreed to friendly draws against each other, while playing tough games against Bobby Fischer.

  There is no way Kramnik or Leko would put their title up for grabs in such a tournament.   Kramnik and Leko are fighting for the real title, the title of value, which can be traced back to Steinitz. 

  Ponomariov claims that many problems could have been avoided, if there were clearer rules. Well this whole mess could have been avoided if Ponomariov had simply signed the contract and agreed to play Garry Kasparov at stand time controls. Ponomariov was to be seeded into the next few World Champion processes. He simply blew the chance of a lifetime.

   Ponomariov asserts that there is no ideal model for world championships. I could not disagree more; the process that selects a world champion should be evaluated by whom each model produces as a world champion. A good process should strive to find the best classical player. The model FIDE perfected in the 60ís, consisting of zonal tournaments, interzonals tournaments, candidate matches, culminating in a world championship match, was best. It produced the following world champions: Spassky, Fischer, Karpov, Kasparov. The FIDE Knockout process has produced Khalifman (top 40), Anand (top 3), Ponomariov (top 7) it is not hard to decide which method is best. If chess gets serious about world championships, it needs to return to the method perfected in the mid 1960sí. FIDE should return to the forging of iron into steel.

   Ponomariov supports Khalifman idea of a double knockout system. Each player would have to lose two matches to be ousted. However, I would much rather see an Interzonal, double round robin tournament. Each player plays 2 games against each other. I like to see how top players stack up against each other. The major problem w/FIDE knockout is that most knockouts occur in blitz/rapid part of the match. This is no way for a classical world champion to be determined. There are numerous other problems with the FIDE knockout process. 

   I have the following proposal for this yearís reunification. Lets have Kasparov and Ponomariov play  candidate matches against the semifinalists of the Tripoli knockout. The last man standing plays the winner of Kramnik vs. Leko.  

 The main goal of a good world championship process should strive to find the best player.  Itís like a fine wine.