One response to “Kramnik: I don’t have Kasparov’s approach – first place or nothing”

  1. Carlsen also mentioned that the cycle has taken too long (Gata Kamsky of is among the competitors because he won the 2007 World Cup); the rules for the cycle have changed multiple times since it started( indisputable); the seedings in the matches are “puzzling” (Topalov, who lost a title match to Anand earlier this year, is seeded No. 1 and plays Kamsky, the No. 8 seed, while Carlsen, the No. 2 seed, would have had to play Radjabov of Azerbaijan, the No. 7 seed); and the matches will be played one after another, with no breaks (when candidates matches were part of the world championship cycle from the 1950’s to the 1990’s, there were several months between matches for opponents to prepare for each other.)

    But isn’t it silly to look at only one side of the equation (this version of the candidate process) without looking at the other. Doing so is a cost benefit analysis without regard to the benefit. For 15 years, Ilyumzhinov has worked steadily to erode the championship. Apparently wanting to be unencumbered by the natural and rightful influence of a clear world champion, he has strived to demean and diminish the game’s highest title. FIDE under Ilyumzhinov minted as many world champions in one six-year period as there were in the first 60 years of the title. Many view Ilyumzhinov’ behavior in this regard as wildly erratic; viewed properly, it is quite single-minded. In short, rather than the idealic view that many of us unrealistically maintain, Magnus is declining a chance at something of greatly diminished value. Beyond that, of course, close association with FIDE, the institution, now hardly brings luster. A recent headline from the largest circulation daily in the UK is not atypical: “Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has dragged chess into ill repute.” (Guardian 9/30/10). There is no need to recite the myriad of reasons that is the case, but events of recent months have only added to that litany of embarrassments. And if everyone acknowledges that FIDE scares off prospects of commercial sponsorship for chess, what do you suppose is the natural solution to the problem?

    Kasparov set an example of ultimately being content to be the “People’s Champion” rather than the FIDE Champion. While the circumstances are different, Magnus is well within reach of achieving the same status. In his letter, he graciously states that there is rough parity among today’s small handful of chess elite. Among those, however, only Magnus shows regular signs of significant additional potential to take chess to an even higher level. “Before he is done,” Kasparov says, “Carlsen will have changed our ancient game considerably.” If Magnus accomplishes what he has set out to do, and does so with continued integrity and honor, that will be reward enough, although others will come. Does anyone believe that being handed a laurel by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov in th e near term adds so much more?

Leave a Reply