Case for Kramnik vs. Topalov
makes ChessToday

2/2/2006 - My letter. The case for Kramnik vs. Topalov, appeared in ChessToday on Tuesday, 1/31/2006. It appeared in issue CT-(31)-1911.  Chess Today's response is below.

 Chess Today: We may be for and we may be against the Kramnik-Topalov match, but  these are purely theoretical arguments, I am afraid. Right now the only person who can have a real impact on this situation is the FIDE President, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. He recently announced that such a match could take place in September 2006 in Elista. But there has not been any confirmation since. Personally, since 2000 I considered Kramnik the World Champion. Yes, he did not qualify for the match vs. Kasparov. Yes, even after losing that match Kasparov's results were more impressive and his rating was higher.

Yes, the qualification system (Dortmund) was far from perfect (it was a closed shop for the selected few). But Kramnik defeated Kasparov in match and for me that outweighed everything else. Chess World Championships have a long and glorious history and the match Kasparov-Kramnik clearly was a part of it.

However, I am not sure where we stand now. Obviously, Kramnik is not the world's strongest player now. It is not possible to challenge him either. Botvinnik was probably not the strongest player in the 1950s, but at least there was a transparent system and the champion could be and was challenged.

Topalov was the main hero of 2005 and had a great start in 2006. FIDE has a system, however imperfect that might be. But Topalov cannot claim to be the latest champion in the row, which began with Steinitz.

So, a match between Kramnik and Topalov will be in the interests of all sides. If Topalov, Kramnik and FIDE can agree on this and can find a sponsor, that's fantastic hopefully the chess public will get to see some great chess.

But if they can't come to an agreement, I won't lose any sleep over it either. Chess will not disappear because this match did not take place. The only thing which will be lost is the 120-years old tradition... But maybe Morozevich is right and it is time to move on and stop putting so much emphasis on the World Champion title? After all, they live without it in golf and tennis and live well!

Hangin's response:
   Morozevich is  wrong. Tennis would never get rid of Wimbledon; Golf would never get rid of the Masters; the NFL would never get rid of the playoffs (candidate matches) or the Super Bowl (world champ matches). Sports don't kill their rich traditions. Fide stole our playoffs and Super Bowl.