FIDE Reunification Marches On


  What a difference a year makes. We have seen a Kramnik vs. Leko Classical World Championship. We saw the FIDE KO in Libya. FIDE reunification is on the march. Was there ever any doubt? Well this Reporter never lost the faith. Dates and dollars have been set for January 7, 2005. Itís a 1.2 million dollar 12 game match. The FIDE phase matches  Garry Kasparov, the Ex Champion, and Rustam Kasimdzhanov, the 2004 Libya FIDE KO Champion. Kasparov is on the comeback trail to regain his title.  Kasparov held it so long; he probably believes he owns it. Kasparov was a great active champion. He  defended the title numerous times against the worldís best players.

     Itís been 4 years since Kasparov lost his title to current Champion Vladimir Kramnik. In 2000 Kasparov was decisively defeated.  His next opponent, Rustam Kasimdzhanov is certainly a lock for the 2004 International White Knightís Dark Horse Award.  Kasimdzhanov, the 27th seed in the Libya KO, marched thru the KO beating all the top seeds.  I am going to give this match up a LEKO, thatís deep a think to those who did not watch the Kramnik vs. Leko match.  This is a good but dangerous tune up for Kasparov. 

The chess world could be heading down the road for a Kramnik vs. Kasparov II. This match up could occur sometime in late 2005 or early 2006.  Kasparov has  incredible match experience. No player alive today, with the exception of Karpov, has more match experience. This is both a blessing and a curse.  Botvinnik said each world championship match takes a year off of your life. Well Kasparov has been thru the equivalent of 9 world championship matches.  Kasparov has also been a very active, dominate player for much of the 80ís and 90ís. Heís been the number one player for over 20 years. In recent years Kasparov has not played as much. All the pressure of playing in world championship matches can take their toll on a player. Even a player as great as Kasparov can be worn out by them. You can only go to the well so many times.
    Kasparovís comeback trail, reminds me of the Muhammad Ali's comeback. Ali was the heavy weight champion from 1963-1967.  He won the title in 1963 by defeating Sonny Liston. Ali was stripped of his title in 1967, because he refused to be inducted into the military.  The boxing board stripped Ali of this title and boxing license.  Joe Frazier won the title by defeating Jimmy Ellis in Madison Square Garden in 1970. Ali's comeback trail started in 1970.  Ali won back his right to box when he took his fight into the US courtroom.  Ali, who did not box for 3 years, needed a few fights before challenging Joe Frazier for the title. So he took on the very tough Jerry Quarry. Ali easily won the fight with a 3rd round knockout. Ali also defeated a very determined Oscar Bonavena, who was TKOed (technical Knockout) in the 15th round. This led to the first Ali vs. Frazier showdown. Ali lost that close fight, when he got floored by a Joe Frazier left hook in the 15th round. Frazier won a unanimous decision. 
Now itís Garry Kasparov on the comeback trail. FIDE also stripped him of his title in 1993, when he bolted with Nigel Short during the 1993 World Chess Champion. Fide may have stripped Kasparov of the FIDE title, but Kasparov lost the title to Kramnik in 2000.  Kasparov also needs a tune up fight to get him ready for The 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. This could be Ali vs. Frazier II.   Kasparov has a good tune up match with Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who will be hungry. Rustam earned this opportunity by defeating all the top seeds in Libya earlier this year. I like Kasimdzhanov attitude. After winning the KO, he was asked about his match with Kasparov.  Kasimdzhanov said he played Kasparov a few times with poor results. Kasimdzhanov says he going to have a cup of coffee and talk with his people. Whoa, that's the right attitude to have after winning the FIDE KO. He put winning the KO in perspective, itís a small but important part of the bigger picture. He has a shot at chess immortality by defeating  Kasparov and Kramnik. Now thatís a long shot, but you got to be in it to win it.
    Now not all comebacks work out. Just ask Mike Tyson, who was recently Knockout in the third round by Danny Williams. How will Kasparovís comeback go?  Well for his opponent Rustam Kasimdzhanov, this is going to be a big payday. Itís a once in a lifetime opportunity. He will put up a tough fight against Kasparov. Rustam will not roll over; Kasparov needs this tough tune up match. He hasnít been all that busy the last few years. He has also been busy writing his My Great Predecessor book series. He also is very involved in Russian politics. This match will be a good tough test for both Kasparov and Kasimdzhanov.

    I will give this match up a LEKO (thatís s deep think for those who did not watch the Kramnik vs. Leko World Championship in Brissago Switzerland). The big question is: How much has 9 world championship matches taken from Kasparov? Does he have another great match or two in him? Kasparov can be his own worse enemy. This was especially true during his failed match against Deep Blue in 1997. Kasparov did not bring his chess powers with him during  game 6 of the Deep Blue match. He lost that game and the match. Again in 2000, Kasparov did not bring the 9th pawn with him when he played Kramnik. Kasparov lost that match as well by 8.5-6.5 score. What road will the Kasparov comeback take? Stay tuned at Chess Reporter.


Chessbase Article on the subject
Rustam Kasimdzhanov Test, fight, suffering, and patience at the Libya KO
Kasparov for President in 2008
How Kasparov won his title
Muhammad Ali 
2003 International White Knight's Awards
The Game Over DVD - about the 1997 Deep Blue Match.
The 2004 Classical Chess World Championship