Elsewhere on the Web : World Championship Unification
Saturday January 14, 2006
No sooner had Veselin Topalov won the FIDE World Chess Championship than the pundits started speculating on a possible unification match between the new FIDE World Champion and the non-FIDE World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. (For background on the FIDE World Championship, held from 28 September to 14 October 2005; see ChessChrono, 2005 FIDE World Championship, San Luis, Argentina.) Let's track the progress of these speculations through the reporting of ChessBase.com, the world's premier source of news about the world's top chess players.
Before the San Luis event had even ended, Topalov's manager Silvio Danailov told Russia's 64 magazine that his man was interested in a match with Kramnik.
A few days after winning the title, Topalov disagreed with his manager.
Kramnik's reaction was immediate.
ChessBase closed the series of reports with a sample of comments received from its readers.
Universal Event Promotion
A few weeks passed without any news. Suddenly the chess world learned that the match was not to be.
The gist of the story was a press release also dated 14 November 2005.
The newly founded German event agency Universal Event Promotion (UEP) submitted a written offer to FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov as well as to the Classical World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik.
This offer guaranteed a fee of US $500,000 (net) for each of the two players – together US $1,000,000 (net). In addition, both players were to participate in specified sponsoring revenue. The match was to be organised from 25 November to 17 December 2006 under the title “World Chess Match of the Champions“. There were to be 14 classical games.
With regard to a possible reunion of both titles the draft contract contained a clause that would have made the unification under the umbrella of the FIDE after conclusion of the contract possible.
The offer, which was accepted by Mr Kramnik, has now been rejected by Mr Topalov, via his management. Intensive negotiations, which involved the management of both players as well as the main investor of the UEP, originally brought agreement on all issues. A golden bridge was built in order to avoid any conflict with FIDE. On this basis the written UEP offer was submitted to the players, with an acceptance deadline (14 November 2005, 18.00h CEST). The Topalov side has allowed this period to expire and finally rejected the offer.
The press release continued, 'It is obviously clear that the drastic change in Mr. Topalov’s stand was caused by FIDE', and then gave a statement by Kramnik, who said, 'The commitment of UEP and my readiness to play against Veselin Topalov were a further attempt to take the decisive step towards a final unification of the chess world. However, it has once again become obvious that currently the opposite side does not show any serious interest in realising this aim in a concerned and professional manner'.
Topalov's reaction came via a press release from Danailov.
The same day, ChessBase published a letter received from FIDE.
The battle of press releases continued with a response from Kramnik's manager Carsten Hensel.
The chess world settled down to watch the FIDE World Cup (see ChessChrono, 2005 FIDE World Cup, Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, 27 November through 17 December), the first event in establishing a FIDE World Champion in 2007.
Kramnik Announces Medical Leave
A few weeks after the World Cup finished, Kramnik ended a disappointing year by finishing 7th out of 12 in the 58th Russian Championship Superfinal, with two wins, two losses and seven draws (+2-2=7). Not long afterwards, Kramnik announced that he would be leaving professional chess for at least a few months.
[Along with the rest of the chess world, we wish Kramnik a speedy recovery and an eventual return to the form that made him one of the world's best players for so long.]
FIDE Issues Its Terms for a Match
FIDE took no notice of Kramnik's absence, but issued the rules governing an eventual 12 game match between Topalov and Kramnik, or any other challenger capable of meeting FIDE's demands.
The most important demands were
FIDE further stipulated, 'Should the above-mentioned provisions be fulfilled, the World Champion is obliged to play the match', and that the, 'match should be terminated at least six months before the start of the World Championship Tournament, due to be held in September/October 2007.' FIDE also specified the continuation in case of a tied match: four rapidplay games followed, if necessary, by two blitz games, followed by 'a single decisive sudden death game. The player, who wins the drawing of lots, may choose the colour. White shall receive 6 minutes, Black shall receive 5 minutes, without any addition. In case of a draw the player with the black pieces is declared as winner.'
Finally, FIDE specified what would happen, 'if there is more than one proposal for a World Championship Match'. Given all that has already happened in the unification process that started in May 2002, we are fairly confident in predicting that this will not be an issue.
Index of all World Championship blog posts