Kramnik getting cold feet?

 10/21/2004 -
    A very disappointing story just in from Chessbase. Kramnik is having problems with the reunification process.  He thinks that his next challenger should come from a 1948 style tournament, consisting of Kasparov, Anand, Ponomariov, and Kasimdzhanov. On the other hand he says that Kasimdzhanov deserves to play a match with the great player Kasparov.  But Vladimir, the whole purpose of that match is to find your next opponent. Now if you want a 1948 style tournament to find your next opponent, well then the Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov match is not needed. I hope Kramnik will not pull the plug on Kasimdzhanov's big pay day. When Kramnik was confronted with the fact that he signed the Prague agreement, Kramnik shot back that he was to play the winner of the Kasparov vs. Ponomariov match.  Well we all know Ponomariov over pressed his position and would not sign the contract to play Kasparov.

      Now we all know that Anand had his shot to be involved in the FIDE reunification. All Anand had to do was to play in the FIDE KO in Libya. Anand played in three previous Knockout tournaments, and finished first in 2 out 3 attempts. The way Anand is dominating chess today, especially in rapid events. He had a great opportunity to win the Libya KO. This was not the first time Anand had a chance to become world champion but declined to participate. Anand declined to be Kasparov's opponent in 2000. 

     Ponomariov also had two chances to contribute to the reunification. The first chance, as I mentioned before, Ponomariov had exclusive rights to play  Kasparov for the right to meet the winner of Kramnik vs. Leko. However  Ponomariov over played his hand with frivolous demands and would not sign the contract to play Kasparov. Ponomariov was given a 2nd opportunity to play a part in the reunification process. He was invited to play  in the Libya KO as well. Ponomariov refused to defend his title, the same way that he won it. 
    Kramnik is taking the high road here. But how deserving was Kramnik to get the chance to challenge for the title in 2000? Garry Kasparov asked Anand first, who had some problems, and would not agree to play Kasparov. So Kasparov asked Kramnik to play for the 2000 Brain Games World Championship. Kramnik wisely accepted the challenge. Now I was happy Kramnik did. He was deserving, but maybe he should have decline and allow Alexi Shirov the opportunity, after all Shirov had defeated Kramnik in a final candidate match in 1998. The Kasparov vs. Shirov match never caught on.  If Kramnik feels he has the real title, and I think he does have the real title, then he should recognized Kasparov's rights as ex World Champion, who is one match removed from his title. Kramnik had an easy road to his title chance with Kasparov. Other challengers had to go through a rigorous candidate process. Many of Kramnik's great predecessors had to go through the rigorous process.  Kramnik needs to be more appreciative of the great opportunity Kasparov gave him in 2000. 

     I want to congratulate the 14th Chess World Champion  Vladimir Kramnik for his exciting match with Peter Leko. I honor his right to keep his title in a drawn match result. I hope the current champion changes his views on this issue and plays the winner of the Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov match. I think the champion should agree to honor the spirit of the FIDE Prague agreement. That spirit says that Kramnik was to defend his title against the winner of Kasparov vs. FIDE KO Champion. I hope the champion will agree to continue the course, especially in view of the fact that the Kasparov vs. Kasimdzhanov is all ready scheduled. It will be good for chess and for chess fans who want to see another World Championship match between two great players.  I know that Kramnik wants to bring more corporate sponsorship into chess. That's a great view to have. Kramnik will no doubt have much say about how his next match is organized. I recall reading an article where Kramnik stated that he has a 2 million dollar offer to play Kasparov any time they want. 

 A year ago I would have back Kramnik's position, because reunification had stalled. This is not the case any longer. A year ago nothing was happening. There were numerous problems:
 1) Brain Games sponsor went bankrupt. This put the Kramnik vs. Leko match on hold.
 2) Ponomariov over played is hand and refused to sign a contract to play Kasparov.
 3) FIDE announces a new KO tournament to find Ponomariov replacement, but nothing concrete occurred.

 All the above problems have been resolved. I am all for changing a plan, when it not moving. Back in late 2003. I would have been happy to see a change in plans. However things are moving. That's important, So lets stick with the game plan. Kasparov is set to play the new FIDE KO Champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov.  I hope the 14th world champion changes his mind and stays the course. Fans would love to see another Kramnik vs. Kasparov showdown.  


Chessbase Story
Hangin's take on Ponomariov May 2004 
Hangin's take on Anand's interview August 2004
Hangin's take on Kasparov's interview May 2004 
Hangin's looking for Love in all the wrong places