In the past week, there have been countless discussions about Kramnik and the 2007 World Championship in Mexico City.

Some people suggested to make it a candidates’ tournament. That can’t be because of the
serious legal issues with the sponsors and the players who signed on to play.

Some people suggested to give the money back to the sponsor. That’s not possible because they have invested a lot of time, money and effort to put on a spectacular show in 2007. In addition, the players also signed on to compete for the World Championship in 2007 in Mexico City.

Mark Crowther of TWIC (a premier chess information and game website) is a non-bias, non-political and very level headed individual. He offered the following comments on ChessNinja:

I believe that you need to hold a world championship regularly and have sadly come to the conclusion it’s not possible, we’ve damaged the cycle too much. There may come a time when we can do it again but probably not at the moment. A classic candidates series would consist of three sets of matches. You have to get sponsorship for one set, then another, then the candidates final and fit it in with the normal tournament schedule.

The money would have to be very good because you’d expect the players to spend at least a couple of months preparing. Where is there any sign there is this kind of finance, and where are the gaps in the schedule?

On to the world title matches themselves Kasparov couldn’t find sponsorship for a match against Shirov and then took a year to find sponsorship for a match against Kramnik. Kramnik in turn took over a year to find sponsorship for his match against Leko.

At the very least we have to go back to Interzonal, Candidates tournament and World championship match to fit everything into the modern chess calendar and have events attractive enough with a reasonable likelihood of getting sponsors. Sponsors of a long world title match also have to put up with the possibility it might be a rout. I suggested a match tournament, 4 players 6 or 8 cycles as a possible replacement that might give a chance of more interest (more competitors more countries possibly) and with a better chance of something to play for until the end. I know all about the possibility of fixing results but chess desperately needs events to happen.

Also I think you can’t announce a world championship tournament in Mexico and then just cancel it because the wrong player won a match, it seems unfair to the other players to me. If there is a clammer for something else after this then fair enough. But I think the winner of such an event with the best and the possibility of qualifying for everyone else is better than no event at all. Cancel Mexico and we could be talking years down the line to get something else going. You can say its FIDE’s fault but if it’s accepted by the people likely to play in it I don’t think we have the right to say we don’t agree.

I don’t think it’s a short term consideration to hold this event. I think it’s important we show we are able to hold events we schedule, and by we I mean the chess community. In the outside world it would reflect badly not only on FIDE but on us all.

He later added:

I’m sure you can see the tradition that way just so long as you don’t mind completely ignoring the other players and sponsors. That’s the heart of the problem for me.

He continued with:

Well of course I’m no supporter of Kirsan and this problem was at least in part of his making. I certainly don’t see a problem with having Mexico and then going back to matches. In the end I’ll do what I always do, wait and see how it plays out. But let’s hope it doesn’t play out in the next world championship being in 2010 or another immediate split the sport is damaged enough.

And he ended with: Yes, slightly unfortunate way of putting things we of course have the right to say what we want but I think it’s the players who are competing who are far more important.

I was desperate for Bessel Kok to win the last FIDE election, he didn’t and I don’t see any way he can be unseated.

But if Kramnik signed a contract to play under FIDE under a single crown I would have thought it would mean he would have to play in their scheduled event.

I just don’t think its that big of a deal to play in Mexico in an event which will be classical in style and as strong as it can be and then revert back to a match if that proves feasible.

What I can see happening is Mexico is cancelled, the candidates series limps on and we get a title match in 2010 that simply not acceptable.

Mark offered a very level headed point of view. Do you agree with him?
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