Monday, October 24, 2005
The problem
Any half-serious chess player knows that the the chess world is in chaos. I had been following with great interest, topalov and kramniks responses to see their views of the situation. It is a little bit disappointing to say the least:

Let me share my views:

Before anything, I dont hate kramnik ok. Its just that all this talk of him having "his" title, or being the "rightful" heir to Stienitz is bothering me.

The problem with kramnik's "title" is that he treats it like a personal belonging. The crown is supposed to represent the world classical chess champion, and so in my opinion, the title belongs to the "world" classical chess population. Not the champion himself. Having it bestowed on a person does not give that person a right to keep it out of reach of challengers, rather having the title entails certain obligations. Certain obligation like, putting it in line at certain time intervals to give other chess players a crack at it.

But right now, that isnt the case. There is really no way that an Anand, or a Topalov, or any other eqaully deserving GM can challenge for the crown. Yeah, Leko had his chance, but one match in five years aint gonna cut it.

I dont know why this behavior is being allowed. It reminds me of politicians who treats public funds as personnal banks.

That office kramnik is holding has its priviledges, and accordingly, its share of obligations. Kramnik really has to do a better job of fulfilling them.

Well anyway, I dont think this can be resolved anytime soon. But if FIDE can really organize a candidates cycle, just like before. Nothing fancy, just organize something exactly like before. Like in the times of Tal, Fischer, and Petrosian.
(BTW, i know this had its own problems, but it worked right!? why did they ever tear it down in the first place is beyond me). Then kramnik's title will little by little lose its meaning. Sure he could do press releases telling everybody that he is the "rightfull" heir to steinitz, but as long as he doesnt open up that title and give other players a shot more frequently, then what's the point? Why should anyone care for "his" title if he aint sharing it? He can keep the title, while all the other GM's battle for the other title, the one within their reach.
posted by Nezha at 6:50 PM | Permalink |


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  • At 11:23 PM, Blogger Temposchlucker

    I acknowledge the claim of Kramnik. He is the 14th worldchampion. But since he hasn't defend his title Topalov is the 15th. For some reason I can't take the "titles" of Ponomariov, Kasimdhanov and that other guy who's name I have forgotten very seriously.

  • At 2:56 AM, Blogger Druss

    Topalov is now saying that he doesn't want to play Kramnik - that he's so much lower rating than him that there is little point.

    It is one thing if Kramnik refuses to play, which he isn't currently doing, but a complete different thing if Topalov thinks it isn't worth it.

    If Kramnik was any good he would have played in the recent tournament!

  • At 5:11 PM, Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza

    Ultimately chess has a great deal to do with ego and pride, from club player to grandmaster. I think both Topalov and Kramnik have issues.

    I definitely agree that Kramnik needs to offer the title out more than once every five years. It's as if the the title is actually being held hostage. Yes he defended it against Leko recently. But there should be a concerted effort to achieve some long term plan for the title and its defense. Kramnik doesn't have to put the title up everytime someone asks for it, but there should be more open overtures to keeping it active. The way it is now leaves everyone in the dark.

    Topalov. Don't even get me started. He has just obtained the FIDE World Title and now refuses to consider a match against Kramnik because Kramnik is whopping 60 points ranked below him. What is that about?! He didn't seem to have any problems winning the FIDE title by playing against others that were definitely 60 points below him. Now he states that because Kramnik is 60 points below him they are not even in the same class! There is so much inflated ego here it's disgusting.

    Ultimately the reality is that posterity will have a hard time remembering who had what title and when if things remain divided. Getting both titles together would go a long way in preserving chess, but that would mean one of these guys would ultimately have to lose their title, and apparently neither has the guts to put their precious trophy on the line.

  • At 12:22 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker

    Topalov thinks along the following line: "Kramnik has had his chance to defend his title.
    He didn't want to do that. So now I'm the champion. If Kramnik wants the title back, he can start where everybody else has to start. Even his rating doesn't indicate that it should be otherwise."
    Sounds reasonable to me.

  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger Pawn Sensei

    I guess I don't understand the politics behind the title yet. How was it done before? Did they have a playoff to see who would play the current champion? How are they doing it now? Did FIDE change the format and did Kramnik not acknowledge it? If so then FIDE should just refuse to acknowledge Kramnik's title and give it to Topalov. They are the organization that created the title right?


  • At 3:29 PM, Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza

    Here is Kramnik's replay to Topalov that I found on Chessbase..

    "I've read comments in the press that Veselin does not believe I am a worthy contender for the title, giving my relatively low rating as the basis for his argument. I believe this is just his emotions speaking. World championship and tournament performance are two entirely separate entities. In chess history the World Champion has not always scored brilliantly in tournaments. One could even go as far as to say that this is rather more an exception than a rule. Petrosian, Spassky, and Botvinnik never won too many tournaments, but nobody ever had any doubts as to the legitimacy of their titles.

    I'd like to stress once more: I firmly believe that I am the real World Chess Champion. I won this title in a contest against the thirteenth World Champion Garry Kasparov and later defended my title in a match against Peter Leko. My title is legitimate and this was acknowledged even by FIDE in the Prague Accords. Should anyone, like Topalov, believe that he is stronger, let him beat me in a match."

    Kramnik is ready and willing it looks like. Now all they need is some money and for Topalov to have some guts to go for it.

  • At 7:45 AM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight

    Why didn't Kramnik play in the recent FIDE match? He was given the opportunity, he refused, and in my opinion that means he forfeited any claims to being world champion.

    Someone at Polgar's blog made the point, and I agree, that even if they play it shouldn't be for the world championship title. Why should Kramnik be given special treatment, after all the others (Leko, Anand) just had to go through a grueling series of games to decide the world champion? No, if they play, it shouldn't be for the world championship, as Kramnik was a chicken and refused to enter the arena in Argentina.

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