Elsewhere on the Web : World Championships Galore

Saturday May 22, 2004

The FIDE World Championship, Women's World Championship, and the Dannemann World Championship are all moving forward at different speeds. The FIDE events have been hounded by controversy, while the Dannemann event recalls the 19th century when chess was played exclusively by gentlemen in smoke-filled rooms.

After an uncertain start, the Women's World Championship gets underway this weekend in Elista, Kalmykia. The original decision to hold the event in Adjaria [Ajaria, Adjara, Ajara], Georgia, was roundly condemned because of security concerns for the participants (Chess women hope to check Georgian clash; Guardian Unlimited; 2 May). When violent images of a worsening situation in the 'breakaway region of the former Soviet republic' appeared on worldwide television news, FIDE announced a change of venue (Chess championship to be held in Kalmykia, not Georgia; Interfax; 5 May 2004). • For many informed observers, Kalmykia is also a controversial choice of venue. See, for example, Kalmykia: A Trip to Kirsan's Repressive 'Planet' (The Moscow Times; 19 May). Kalmykia, while certainly safe for chess players, has not always been safe for journalists. • For full details on the event, including the schedule ('Regulations'), a list of participants ('Qualifiers'), and a discussion of the change of venue ('History'), see FIDE's page Women's World Chess Championship : 21 May - 8 June. Top seed is 17-year old Koneru Humpy of India, who won the World Junior Chess Championship (Girls) in 2001. The official site for the event is wwcc2004.fide.com. • (Previous report : Elsewhere on the Web 24 April)

The Dannemann cigar company held a press conference to announce that the Kramnik - Leko match will be played in Brissago, Switzerland. For details, see Dannemann World Championship : 25 September - 18 October • The press release for the event calls it the 'Classical World Chess Championship'. The moniker was invented around the time of the 2002 Prague agreement for the Reunification of the World Chess Title, when all signatories agreed that 'FIDE is the custodian and owner of the World Chess Championship title and that there should be only one federation - FIDE - recognized by the IOC and the world of sports'. • The official site for the match is the German-language Schach-Weltmeisterschaft (Chess World Championship), although the match regulations are available in English. • (Previous report : Elsewhere on the Web 3 April)

Finally, the FIDE World Championship (open to both men and women) remains wrapped in doubt over the FIDE decision to hold the event in Libya. After reports that Israelis want chess tourney out of Libya (Associated Press; 6 May). FIDE replied that the 'Invitation of the Libyan Olympic Committee to all participants [is] still valid' (FIDE Press Release; 7 May; MS Word format), and that 'FIDE is of course in no position to follow unofficial reports and rumours spread through the Internet'. • The FIDE situation is becoming increasingly difficult to follow. The official page, World Chess Championship, carries a dateline of 11 April. Much of the page's news, which is either undated or happened after that date, is not presented in chronological order. All we can be sure of at this point is that the event is scheduled for 18 June - 13 July and that 128 players should be present at the start. • (Previous report : Elsewhere on the Web 1 May)

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