the Prague agreement
 an April Fool's Day Prank ?

4/1/2005 -
   Back on October 30, 1938, Orson Wells performed the H G Wells’ classic “the war of the worlds” on Columbia Broadcast system, you know CBS radio.  Orson did such a great job, people who listened to the broadcast thought it was a real news broadcast. They were frightened by it. It was an incredible hoax. 

  The war of the worlds was about a Martian invasion of earth.  Orson did such a great job, that it caused mass hysteria on the east coast, especially in New York and New Jersey. People actually thought we were under attack. Many people panicked and got in their cars and left town. Police, news media, and radio stations were flooded with calls from worried listeners. Even though the broadcast from time to time announced that it was just entertainment, people missed those announcements. The show sounded like a real news-broadcast.

    Now days, people take great liberty with April Fool’s day jokes. They don’t always happen on April first. During a March 30th Chessbase lecture, Dennis
Monokroussos fabricated an exciting encounter from two genuine games played by Fischer and Karpov. The games were just a hoax. I am just wondering about the Prague agreement, when was it signed?  Wasn’t it signed on April first of 2002?  As I recall it was signed very close to that date. The whole agreement was to unify the chess world again. Its goal was to create a single world champion.

   One aspect of the agreement called for a match between Garry Kasparov and the FIDE KO Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. Maybe the Prague agreement was just an April Fool’s day joke.  Maybe it was a hoax that went horribly wrong, just like back in 1938. It could have picked up steam and maybe everyone missed the announcement that it was just a hoax. I certainly missed those announcements. I was completely fooled by it.

   Looking back on it now, I find it incredibly hard to believe that in three years FIDE couldn’t find a match partner for Garry Kasparov. I find it even more unbelievable that Ruslan Ponomariov would not sign a contract to play Garry Kasparov.  Maybe the Prague agreement was just a case of mass chess hysteria? This hoax even fooled Garry Kasparov, because he waited three years for a match that never occurred. He finally got so fed up and retired from chess. However it didn’t fool Ruslan, he didn’t participate in it. However the hoax did not stop here. 

   The mass chess hysteria got so great that 128 players flew to Libya to play in another FIDE KO Championship. Most of the top players must have known that the Prague agreement was a hoax. They didn’t jump on planes and head for Libya. Rustam Kasimdzhanov won the KO this time out. He thought by doing so he would play a match with Kasparov. However FIDE could not find a sponsor that would come up with the financial guarantees.  There was some interest in the match, but sponsors must have quickly learned about the hoax as well. This is probably why the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik did not want to play the winner of the Kasparov vs. FIDE KO Champion. Kramnik obviously knew the Prague agreement was a hoax too.

  I am embarrassed to say that I was fooled by this hoax. The only reason I started Chess Reporter was to give my views on the troubles with the Prague agreement.  I think I will have to close Chess Reporter down now. After all, the whole premise for it  was based on a hoax.  I can’t believe I was so naďve. 

War of the Worlds - by H G Wells - performed by Oren Wells on October 30, 1938
More on war of the worlds radio broadcast
Still More on the war of the worlds radio broadcast
FIDE Reunification - Mass Hysteria