Monday, February 28, 2005
FIDE Tries Again at Reunification
TBILISI, Georgia (AP) - The World Chess Federation said Sunday it would hold a tournament this year in an attempt to unify the chess world that splintered nearly a decade ago with the world champion's walkout. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the president of the federation known by its French acronym FIDE, said the world's eight top chess grandmasters would play a tournament in October to name the world champion. The planned match is the fifth attempt to reunify the chess world since then-world champion Garry Kasparov broke away from FIDE in 1993....
The most recent attempt at unification failed last month, when Kasparov withdrew from a world championship match with FIDE champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan scheduled for this spring. Kasparov said he had suffered financial and psychological damage from the match's repeated postponement.
In 2003, FIDE champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine refused to sign a contract with FIDE to play against Kasparov. The rift in the chess world grew after Ilyumzhinov, the president of the impoverished Russian province of Kalmykia, became president of federation in 1995. While Ilyumzhinov was praised for pouring millions of dollars into chess, he also introduced numerous controversial changes, including a new knockout format for the world championship and a new, faster time control.
Under a 2002 plan to reunify the chess world, known as the Prague Agreement, Kasparov was to play a FIDE champion. The winner of that match was to face the winner of a contest between Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and Peter Leko of Hungary. Kramnik beat Kasparov in 2000 to become the Classical World Champion, a title not recognized by FIDE. Under the latest Ilyumzhinov's plan, grandmasters Kasimdzhanov, his runner-up Michael Adams of England, Leko, Viswanathan Anand of India, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Russians Kramnik, Kasparov and Alexander Morozevich will play two round-robbin rounds to decide the world title...."