Garry Kasparov : Reunification++

Friday February 4, 2005

What if they cancelled the World Chess Championship. Would anyone care? We don't have to guess the answer. It's happened twice in the last few months.

First, FIDE pulled the plug on its World Championship match which had been announced for Dubai. The cancellation of the January match was accompanied by vague hints that the Kasparov - Kasimdzhanov match might be rescheduled for Turkey. (See Elsewhere on the Web 18 December 2004).

Later, the event rumored for Turkey met a similar fate, this time by the world's no.1 player. Kasparov pulls out of world chess championship, blasts FIDE • 'Chess grand master Garry Kasparov has announced he is withdrawing from a world championship due to be held this year in Turkey because frustration with the World Chess Federation FIDE had led to financial loss and psychological hardship.' [20 January 2005;]

A FIDE Press Release made no attempt to hide its opinion that the World Federation considered Kasparov to be at fault. • 'Garry Kasparov had made it clear several times that he would not sign anything before he receives "acceptable" financial guarantees. [...] It has to be clear to everyone that it is impossible to secure such high prize funds from legitimate sponsors, acceptable to FIDE and the IOC, without providing the candidate organizers with the necessary time to complete their efforts, especially when the government of a country is the guarantor for the organization of the match. It is even more difficult to secure these prize funds when the participants demand excessive financial guarantees before commiting themselves in writing.' [20 January;]

It really doesn't matter any more who is to blame. Any hope of reunifying the FIDE championship title with the Vladimir Kramnik title is now gone. Once again, life goes on, but chess is the big loser.


Although the aborted Dubai match cost Kasparov a spot in the most recent Corus super grandmaster tournament, don't cry any crocodile tears for Kasparov. He has plenty of projects to keep him busy.

On the chess front, he'll be playing in this year's Linares, which runs from 22 February to 10 March 2005. His would-be match opponent Rustam Kasimdzhanov will also be playing in Linares. On the political front, as chairman of the Free Choice 2008 Committee, he has been busy keeping a fire lit under Russian President Vladimir Putin through guest editorials in the The Wall Street Journal.

Kasparov's My Great Predecessors, a comprehensive review of the World Champions (first mentioned here in Seen on the Web 24 July 2003 for Part I : Steinitz through Alekhine) has been a critical and commercial success and continues to keep the presses humming. Part III (Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky) was published in October 2004, while part IV (Bobby Fischer) followed in November. Two more volumes are planned.

Kasparov's series on the World Champions may be the only chess book in history to merit an official web site. 'is a non-profit educational site offering various articles, games and images in the download zone, encouraging debate and research through the forums in the feedback zone and keeping you posted on the latest information about the books in the connections zone.'


The documentary Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine by Vikram Jayanti (Seen on the Web 20 September 2003) is in distribution again and should soon be available for purchase. Film critics are giving it a closer look than last time and are evenly divided on its merits.

Thumbs up : A psychological thriller

Thumbs down : Rook switcheroo

Index of all World Championship blog posts