Dear chess fans,
the latest FIDE announcement regarding re-awarding Bulgarian Chess Federation the opportunity to organize the Kamsky-Topalov match is another unprecedented decision by the FIDE President. In his latest response, Mr. Ilyumzhinov, one of the most successful businessman and politicians in Russia, is trying to suggest that he fell a victim of undue influence and was induced by Mr. Chernenko into making his personal guarantee of the prize fund in the amount of $750,000. Specifically I refer to the following language:
“At this point I must say that I have deeply regretted the trust which I had shown to Alexander Chernenko, concerning the reliability of his offer. The actions of Mr. Chernenko indicate an abuse of right to invoke my guarantee which was declared after his own request and in good faith to help him secure the necessary funds.”
It is clear that Mr. Ilyumzhinov personally guaranteed the prize funds of $750,000 for the match to be organized in Lviv, Ukraine and thus undertook specific moral and legal obligations towards both players.
My position towards options available to FIDE is simple. FIDE President, Mr. Ilyumzhinov, can follow the venue and great organization of Anand-Kramnik match in Bonn, Germany.
Unfortunately I do not have any faith in FIDE and Mr. Ilyumzhinov who in front of the whole world breached his word, which is not the first time. Also, I do not have much faith in Mr. Makropoulos, a personal friend of Mr. Danailov. Suddenly FIDE appointed without any negotiations Mr. William Kelleher of USA as the FIDE Supervisor of the Organizing Committee to be responsible for fairness concerning treatment of both players in respect of organizational issues, equal playing conditions and anti-cheating measures. However, for almost a year, Mr. Kelleher did not respond to any request for basic information made by Mr. Kamsky. Thus I doubt that he will be of any help to the American contender during the match. Accordingly, FIDE should make such important nominations after consultation with players. And should the match be organized correctly, like it was done in Bonn, Germany, the players will not require a FIDE Supervisor’s position as the proper organization should eliminate most conflict situations before they even arise.
The foremost important issue that FIDE omitted from its agenda for the technical meeting in Dresden on November 18th, 2008 is to have both players and their attorneys to discuss and negotiate the terms of the contract. During prior months FIDE remained silent to numerous requests for a contract for the Kamsky-Topalov match made by GM Kamsky’s attorney. Yet having no contract, FIDE mandated on November 6, 2008, that both players must confirm their participation by November 14, 2008. Before any confirmation can be given a player must know the time, the place and the prize fund for the match. FIDE is trying to use time pressure to force players into confirming to unknown terms that could later become critical. GM Kamsky is asking for the minimum – an honestly and fairly organized match in neutral location. If that does not occur both players instead of fighting against each other should unify to fight against FIDE in the court of law.
I would like to use this opportunity to congratulate Vishy Anand on his true victory. This is his third victory at the world championship. I think he could have achieved even more success if during his match against Kasparov he did not have as his trusted seconds grandmasters from the former Soviet Union.
I was very impressed by the organization of Anand’s match in Bonn, Germany, except that the match should have been played between Kamsky and Anand. It was unjust to allow Russian GM Kramnik to play three world championship matches, in 2006, 2007, 2008, without a proper selection, just so Russia can maintain the world championship title. World chess history does not know another chess player who had a privilege to compete for the title of a world champion three consecutive years. It is obvious that Mr. Ilyumzhinov has a soft spot for his countryman.
FIDE ruled to include GM Topalov into the current world championship cycle as an ‘intermittent’ contender against the winner of the 2007 World Cup, GM Kamsky, just to quite the woes of the Bulgarian Federation and Mr. Danailov, who threaten FIDE with the legal action after the ‘toilet war’. These are examples of an undue favoritism and not a true sportsmanship.
Most chess fans would recognize now that American GM Kamsky’s fight for neutral playing conditions is a necessity because neutrality was the foremost important rule for all world championship matches that FIDE must observe. Otherwise the match in Bulgaria will become a second rehearsal of his match against GM Karpov in Elista, Russia in 1996. See the Gata Kamsky International Chess & Sports Foundation, www.01chess.com, for more information about Kamsky-Karpov match.
It is clear that FIDE has a direct duty and responsibility to organize the world championship match Kamsky-Topalov. However FIDE’s latest response is to place its burden upon players, thus confronting the players even before their battle on a chess board. I anticipate that in these uncertain times Gata’s life could be in danger: no person – no problem.