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
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.