What's wrong with Fide Knockout Tournaments

1)      Top Talent does not play in it

2)      Blitz and luck  have too much impact  in the final outcome

3)      The process is over too quickly. In 2 month the process is all over. Sometimes you donít recognize the winnerís name. If you do, you donít know how he got there.

4)      Destroys  rich tradition of world championship being decided by the man who beat the man who beat the man.

5)      You donít always get a world champion caliber player. Also you have this unanswered question, could he/she have beaten Kramnik or Kasparov. This only devaluates the chess crown jewel.

6)      If you do get a world champion caliber player, like Anand, you deny him greatness by not having a showdown against the current champion. He did not get the opportunity to get measured by the yardstick that was created by all the great champs of the past.

7)      The final 8 game match is too short to be worthy of a world championship match.

8)      Lets look at the how the promising young star Ruslan Ponomoriov won in 2001-2002.
Click here to see Ruslan's road to the FIDE title.

                Ponomoriov track record as a champion is far from impressive. Poor results in Linares and Corus. My feeling he is not quite ready to be a champion, but at 19 he has many years to prove he is worthy. Bobby Fischer was 29 when he took the title. However Bobby went through the character building candidates process.

            Lets look at how Garry Kasparov won his title.  Click here to see Kasparov road to the Championship

   Kasparov went on to dominant the chess world for 20 years. He successfully defended his title 5 more times, finally losing it to Kramnik in 2000. Kasparov is still the number one player in the world.

Which one of these two systems has value? I think it is obvious. I donít think you can call Ponomoriov a World Champion, at least not yet. FIDE should not deny him this great honor. It is obvious that the FIDE knockout process is not worthy of World Champion Selection.

   With the old system,  a three year process, you had time to showcase your talent. Once the 8 finalists were identified, there was time to focus on them. You want these 8 to be your best.  You showcase the talent by spreading the candidate matches out. Give the media time to report on the matches. Give the fans something to look forward to. Allow the fans  time to get know these challengers. Then when you get to the world championship match, you know you have a great champion and a worth challenger. You feel good about the match up, knowing the challenger and his struggle to get there.

   A good world championship process is like a fine wine. 

   I have never seen a book about a FIDE Knockout World Championship. Itís almost like it never happened.  I see a book on the last  man who beat the man who beat the man contest. You can buy Kasparov vs. Kramnik, the Brain Game Championship in bookstores today, three years after it happened.

  I think that Kramnik vs. Leko is having the same problem. No time to showcase the challenger. Who is Peter Leko? How did he win the right to play Kramnik?  For those who donít know, he won the 2002 Dortmund Tournament. He did not have to play three candidate matches.  Also Kramnik did not go through a character building candidate process as well. He was chosen to play Kasparov in 2000. Kramnik defeated Kasparov by a score of 2 wins 13 draws to become the 14th World Champion.

 There is no question that  FIDE KO events are exciting tournaments, but they are unworthy of world championship selection.

 

-hg