Friday, April 22, 2005

FIDE Championship

FIDE is a joke. Where to begin? This ill-conceived idea for the world championship is barely an improvement on their infamous knockout tournaments, where random no-names would win the weak, poorly-designed contests by being the biggest fish in a pathetically small pond.

Take, for instance...
1. GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan (World Champion)
Who? I would love to link you to FIDE's website, but it's down! How fitting. Anyway, Kasimdzhanov is some random rated 30th in the world or so who won FIDE's latest bogus championship and received a title with virtually no meaning. It's funny to see him at the top of this list:
1. GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan (World Champion)
2. GM Michael Adams of England (runner-up of the Tripoli World Championship)
3. GM Vladimir Kramnik of Russia
4. GM Peter Leko of Hungary
5. GM Garry Kasparov of Russia
6. GM Vishy Anand of India
7. GM Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria
8. GM Alexander Morozevich of Russia
Because the names under his read as a litany of his clear superiors. What a joke. Oh, and this is nice:
The last four players are nominated on the basis of the FIDE rating list (average of July 2004 and January 2005). If any player declines the invitation he will be replaced by the next on the FIDE rating list (average rating of July 2004 & January 2005).
In other words, starting with Kasparov (!) players are invited merely based on ratings and not on any claim to a world title. Yes, that's right - in FIDE's eyes, Kasparov has no claim on the world championship. Since Kasparov retired and won't be participating anyway, this clear insult from FIDE doesn't have much meaning, but it's tasteless and pathetic.

Kasparov doesn't need FIDE's validation. FIDE needs him, but won't ever get him.

And if Kasparov needed less reason to participate:
The FIDE President has announced his proposal to organise this Tournament in Elista with a prize fund of US $500,000 plus 20% ($100,000) as a contribution to FIDE. The world chess federation expects potential bidders to offer a higher amount. No bidder can have a sponsor advertising tobacco and/or alcohol.
The world champion receives 30% of the prize fund, the second place 20%, third 14%. The rest get 10%, 8%, 7%, 6% and 5%. Prize money will be divided equally when players have the same score.
Even if a player wins he only gets 30% of the prize fund?! Well damn, sign me up! Kasparov makes more than that taking a...well, you get the idea.

The format is a joke:

The event will be a double round robin at the following time controls: 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by 20 moves in one hour, followed by 15 minutes plus 30 seconds for all moves (40/2h, 20/1h, 15m+30sec/all). There will be free days after rounds four, eight and twelve.

In case of a tie the title of the World Champion will be decided by the results of the games between the players involved in the tie. If they are still tied the total number of wins in the tournament is decisive. If there is still no clear winner the players will play two rapid chess games (25'+10") against each other. If necessary the winner will be decided in blitz games.
Round robins are no way to decide the world championship, though they may serve well at, oh, deciding whether Billy Smith is the greatest chessplayer in 2nd grade at Exeter Elementary School. I also looooove how FIDE has kept its pathological aversion to well-played endgames in force by making sure no one ever has time to play properly to close a game. Even more reason for Kramnik and Leko to agree to a draw on move 10, right?

Oh, and speaking of them - I doubt either one will actually play. Anand won't prove anything by playing in this phony tournament: he can do better. He can easily make more money doing just about anything else with his time. Kramnik and Leko are both cowards and won't play if anyone with a true fighting spirit participates, like Morozevich.

So, all these criticisms will be accepted as given. Now look what ChessBase says in its next article:
The reaction to the report we published yesterday, outlining FIDE's plan for a classical chess world championship with eight selected players brought us a large number of letters, generally poking fun at the announcement. "A snowflake's chance in hell," was the way one reader assessed the plans, a delayed April Fool's joke another.

Well today, just 36 hours after the publication of our report, the World Chess Federation has announced that a sponsor has been found and that there is a guaranteed prize fund of US $1,000,000 available for the double round robin tournament to be held in San Luis, Argentina.
Oh I see, so none of those other criticisms hold any weight because FIDE's got twice the money now. So it's still a pathetically small amount of money to be divided so that the winner barely gets any of it, most people with any chess skill won't participate, and the format is pointless. But FIDE's getting a million bucks, so everything's ok now.

By the way, I seem to recall the projected match between Kasparov and Kasimdzhanov had sponsorship too, but the sponsor pulled out at the last minute. So, yeah, way to fellate FIDE, ChessBase.


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