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World Chess Championship
From the Steinitz-Zukertort match in 1886, right up to the death of Alekhine in 1946, everything was simple. The chess world was similar to a feudal society, headed by the king (the champion) and the powerful feudal lords (the grandmasters), with whom the king reached agreements on the laws of the chess state, which reduced essentially to one -- how to conduct matches for the World Championship. - M.Botvinnik
Kasparov seeks a title match
While many consider that the world chess championship title and the world's number one chess ranking are the same thing, this is not an opinion shared by all. During the months following the FIDE title match in Lausanne, Kasparov's own PCA title began to lose its luster. He had not defended it since the 1995 PCA match with Anand, and there were no plans to do so in 1998. Although the PCA had never been declared dead, most observers assumed that nothing more would be heard from it.
After the FIDE tournament in Groningen, several super grandmaster tournaments took place. In January 1998, Kramnik (ELO 2790 at the time of the tournament) and Anand (2770) tied for first place with 8.5 points in the 14 player, category 17 tournament held at Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands. Shirov (2710), Timman (2635), and Adams (2670) finished a point behind. Karpov (2735) finished tied with four other players at 6.5 points.
A story made the rounds during the tournament that Kasparov intended to organize a match between Kramnik and Anand. The winner would then play a match with Kasparov. When Anand was asked whether he had discussed such an arrangement with Kasparov, he replied that he had had no concrete discussions with Kasparov and that his contract for the FIDE world championship prevented him from playing in any such non-FIDE match for one year.
During February and March, seven of the world's best players met at the traditional Linares tournament in Spain. The town of 60.000 inhabitants had for years been the site of the one of the strongest tournaments in the world. Anand won the double round robin with 7.5 points, followed by Shirov with 7, while Kasparov (2825) tied with Kramnik at 6.5.
The World Chess Council
During the opening ceremony at Linares, organizer Luis Rentero and Kasparov announced the creation of the World Chess Council (WCC). The two men proposed to sponsor a 10 game match between Kramnik and Anand in Cazorla, Spain, beginning on 20 May.
The winner of the Cazorla match would meet Kasparov in October for an 18 game match played in Seville and Linares, with Kasparov to retain his title if tied. The prize fund for the match with Kasparov would be 200.000.000 PST (1.300.000 US$), which was guaranteed by the Andalusian regional government, according to Rentero, who had procured the funding.
The WCC -- following the Grandmasters Association (GMA), the European Chess Union (ECU) and the Professional Chess Association (PCA) -- marked Kasparov's fourth attempt to create a counterbalance to FIDE. In addition to Rentero and Kasparov, William Wirth of Switzerland would serve as the vice president of the WCC.
Regarding the contract with FIDE which prevented Anand from playing for world championships titles of other organizations, the WCC suggested that the relevant clause had little weight and could be settled favorably in court if FIDE took legal action. Anand's reaction was "I have signed a contract with FIDE, my signature binds me, and I am a man of my word".
When it became clear that Anand would not accept to play for the WCC, his place was offered to Shirov. The justification was Shirov's excellent showing in the Linares tournament, where he was in the running for first place until the last round. The fact that Shirov had recently taken Spanish citizenship may have also had some importance in the eyes of the Spanish sponsors.
Shirov had been eliminated by Anand in the quarterfinal round at Groningen -- Kramnik had declined to participate at Groningen in protest against the advantages given to Karpov. On his way to sharing first place with Svidler and Kramnik at Tilburg in November 1997, Kasparov had passed judgement on Shirov as a 'talented amateur'.
At the end of the Linares tournament, Rentero and Wirth confirmed that Kramnik and Shirov would play the preliminary match. The loser would receive 100.000 US$, while the winner would go on to face Kasparov. The prize fund for the match was also guaranteed by the regional government of Andalusia.
Asked about the WCC, Karpov pointed out that Kasparov had become world champion through FIDE and that it was no through fault of FIDE that he had refused to defend his title within FIDE's regulations. Karpov compared Kasparov to Fischer, in that Fischer had refused to defend his title and had lost it. More importantly, the FIDE world champion title was the only chess title recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch, concerned by the split in world chess, offered to negotiate a compromise between FIDE and the WCC. Kasparov and Rentero did not refuse the offer outright, but did nothing to pursue it.
Karpov considered it unwise that anyone should depend on the good will of Kasparov, rather than on an agreed qualification cycle. As for himself, he would have no problem playing Kasparov again, provided that the terms were arranged by a neutral organization using transparent rules.
Shirov beats Kramnik
Kramnik and Shirov shared first place at the 7th Melody Amber Tournament held in Monaco in March. The 12 player, category 18 tournament was a double round robin, where the players contested a rapid game followed by a blindfold game against the same opponent, both games played on the same day. The winners finished with 15 points, closely followed by Ivanchuk with 14.5. They were trailed by Anand with 12, then Karpov and Topalov (2740) with 11.5.
In May, Anand won a 10 player, category 17 tournament in Madrid with 6.5 points, one point ahead of Svidler (2690). Anand was the only participant with an ELO above 2700, and had been a strong favorite to win.
The Shirov-Kramnik WCC match was played from 24 May to 5 June, in Cazorla, a resort town south of Linares in the region of Andalusia. Kramnik, 22 years old at the time of the match, had often been ranked number 2 in the world and had once overtaken Kasparov for the number 1 ranking. He had been a student of Kasparov and had served as one of Kasparov's seconds during the 1995 PCA match with Anand. Shirov, Latvian by birth, was 25 years old and a resident of Spain. Assisted by Valery Salov, he had trained for two months combining chess and sport eight hours a day.
The two players had opposing styles. Kramnik was known for a conservative, risk avoiding style of play, while Shirov was an artist constantly in search of beauty.
The match terms were two games on consecutive days followed by a rest day. If the best of 10 match were drawn, there would be a series of rapidplay games to determine the winner. Shirov scored +2-0=7 to win 5.5-3.5.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total Kramnik V = = = 0 = = = = 0 3.5 Shirov A = = = 1 = = = = 1 5.5
Shirov won the right to play Kasparov for a prize fund of 1.900.000 US$ (295.000.000 PST), with 65% to the winner. The match would start 16 October in Seville. Kramnik received 200.000 US$ (31.000.000 PST).
Shortly after the WCC match, Kasparov, who had celebrated his 35th birthday in April, played a new kind of chess match with Veselin Topalov in Leon, Spain. The match was played under rules which allowed the players to use computers equipped with a chess database (ChessBase 7.0) and an analysis program (Fritz 5), complete with opening and endgame databases. This form of chess, dubbed 'Advanced Chess', had been an idea of Kasparov which he promoted as the 'Chess of the Future'.
The time control was one hour per player for the entire game. After the match ended in a 3-3 tie (+2-2=2), there was an improvised series of playoff games. There were first two five minute games where Black won both games. Then there was a sudden death match with White having four minutes and Black five. After the first game was drawn, Kasparov won the second game to end the match. The two players had played a match of 25 minutes per game at the beginning of May, which Kasparov had won 4-0.
At the beginning of July, Kramnik tied for first place with Adams and Svidler in a 10 player, category 18 tournament held at Dortmund, Germany. The three players finished with 6 points. Anand, who lost one game and drew the rest, tied for 6th-8th. Shirov finished last with four losses and no wins, the worst result of his career.
The mid-1998 FIDE rating list had Kasparov at number 1 with 2815, followed by Anand (2795), Kramnik (2780), Ivanchuk (2730), Karpov (2725), and Shirov (2720).
The WCC loses its sponsors
Billed as a warmup for his forthcoming WCC title match, Kasparov played a friendly six game match against Jan Timman in Prague, Czech Republic, starting 6 September. The match was sponsored by EuroTel, Siemens, and a host of Czech companies. The total prize fund for the match was 100.000 US$ with 65% and the EuroTel trophy to the winner. Kasparov was heavily favored to win the match as his career record against Timman was +18-3=22.
At the press conference on the eve of the match, Kasparov announced that his WCC title match with Shirov had been cancelled due to lack of sponsorship and funding. The funding had been based on verbal agreements between Rentero and the Andalusian regional government, with half to come from the Ministry for Tourism and Sport in Andalusia.
Rentero was a member of the political party which controlled the Ministry, but some time after the the WCC announcement in February, control of the Ministry passed to the opposition party in exchange for a supporting vote on a key issue in the Andalusian parliament. The new leadership of the Ministry had no desire to sponsor WCC activities.
The situation had been known to the other WCC principles since July, but subsequent efforts to procure alternate funding had failed. There was still some hope that sponsorship would be found elsewhere -- Los Angeles and Catalonia were rumored to be two possibilities -- but this had not been confirmed by the time of the press conference.
Kasparov's reaction was swift. "My title cannot be taken away by decree. To be the new world champion, somebody is going to have to sit down across the table and beat me fair and square. I stand ready, willing, and able to defend my title again." His future plans were unknown, as he would be playing neither in the Olympiad nor in the FIDE Championships at the end of the year.
Shirov had received no payment for his qualifying match against Kramnik. He subsequently announced his decision to play for Spain in the Olympiad in October. Half of Kramnik's prize for losing the qualifying match had been held until the final match took place.
Kasparov went on to win the EuroTel Match over Timman by a score of 4-2 (+2-0=4). More significant than the match was the appearance of a new potential sponsor. At the very moment when it looked as though Kasparov's title was trapped in the doldrums, EuroTel was about to put new wind in his sails.
EuroTel Praha was a Czech wireless joint venture owned 51% by SPT Telecom, the Czech PTT, and 49% by Atlantic West. SPT Telecom itself was 27% owned by Telsource. TelSource was owned 51% by KPN, the Dutch PTT, and 49% by Swisscom, the Swiss PTT. The chief executive of TelSource was Andre F. Bessel Kok, a Dutch national better known to the chess world as Bessel Kok. Kok also served as the deputy general director of SPT Telecom, although insiders said it was Kok who ran the company.
As chief executive in the 1980s of the telecommunication company SWIFT, Kok had sponsored a series of annual tournaments in Brussels, including a GMA World Cup event. Later he had gone on to a position with the GMA, but had a falling out with Kasparov, which effectively put an end to the GMA as a viable organization. He served as general manager of Belgacom, the Belgian PTT, until the end of 1994, when he left the company in a disagreement with the Belgian government over the terms of Belgacom's forthcoming privatization. A few months later he was appointed to the top position at TelSource.
In October, Kok announced that EuroTel would sponsor a 3.000.000 US$ match between Kasparov and the winner of the FIDE World Championship in Las Vegas. The proposal foresaw a match in the second half of 1999, between Kasparov as the reigning world champion and the FIDE participant as the challenger. The prize fund would be divided 2/3 to the winner and 1/3 to the loser.
In an interview with John Henderson of The Scotsman, Kasparov announced that 'the proposal has great merit' and that he was taking the offer seriously. Asked about his former problems with Kok and the GMA, he replied, 'That was long ago. Hopefully, we are both wiser now than we were then.'
The 33rd Chess Olympiad was held in Elista, Kalmykia, in October. In the mens competition, Russia and the United States finished 1st & 2nd, followed by the Ukraine and Israel tied for 3rd-4th. In the womens competition, China finished 1st followed by Russia and Georgia tied for 2nd-3rd.
Anand won a 12 player, category 18 tournament held at Dortmund, Germany, at the end of October. He finished with 7.5 points, a half point ahead of Leko. Kramnik, at 6 points, tied for 3rd-5th with Sadler and Zvjaginsev.
In mid-November, Shirov played a six game match against the number one Czech player Zbynek Hracek (2615) in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Shirov needed to win 4-2 to avoid losing rating points, but he did better than this, winning the match 5-1.
At the end of November, Kasparov and Kramnik played a two day blitz match in Moscow, sponsored by the Kosmos Hotel. The prize fund was 24.000 US$ and the match was drawn.
At the same time Rentero suffered serious injuries when his car was hit by a truck in Linares. He was hospitalized with serious head and chest injuries, and spent more than three weeks in intensive care. The accident marked a firm and unfortunate end to the WCC, which was fast becoming a footnote in chess history.
In December, FIDE Secretary Emmanuel Omuku verbally rejected Kok's offer to finance the match between Kasparov and a FIDE champion. The FIDE championship in Las Vegas had been cancelled, reportedly due to contract difficulties with Karpov, so the FIDE decision may have been due more to the lack of a player than to any fundamental opposition to the idea. Some observers suspected that the collapse of the Russian economy in August may have been a factor in FIDE's cancellation of the event. The cancellation meant that there was little world class chess in December, as most other events had been pushed off the calendar.
The January 1999 FIDE rating list had Kasparov as the number 1 player at 2812, followed by Anand (2784), Kramnik (2751), and Shirov (2726). Karpov (2710) slipped to ninth place.
Anand is the man
Kasparov stopped talking about a match with Shirov and expressed his desire to play a match with Anand. In an interview published on his Web site he was asked, "Under the aegis of what organization?", and replied, "No organization, I don't care about the organization! A title match under the same aegis that covered the match between Capablanca and Alekhin, does anyone remember under which cover they played? Nobody does, at least it does not matter now." He went on to state his view that FIDE had always been subservient to the wishes of the world champion and of the Soviet Chess Federation. "The time when FIDE was a union of federations is now over. Today FIDE is not an organization, but one man, who finances it." He summarized his position with, "Anand needs to define if he wants to play a real title match with me or not."
Kasparov won a 14 player, category 17 tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, in January, where he started with a draw followed by seven consecutive wins. His score of 10 points put him one half point ahead of Anand. The two players drew their individual encounter in 22 moves. Kramnik was third with 8 points, and Shirov finished in a tie for 4th-7th places, losing his individual game against Kasparov. "This was by far the best tournament of my life", Kasparov said afterwards. "I won eight games and I can be proud of each one of them."
At the beginning of February, Shirov issued a statement on his views surrounding the WCC difficulties and Kasparov's subsequent statements.
Since Gary Kasparov has made many statements and given interviews, press releases etc., I strongly feel that the time has come for me to end my silence and express my views on what has happened with and around the WCC World championship.
Back in 1993 the former World champion Mikhail Botvinnik said that Kasparov would end up as his own owner of the World champion title as it has been the case with Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine. Today we see that the late patriarch was right - Kasparov has just stated that Anand is the World number two player and should just challenge him for the title without preliminary competition.
But has there really been no preliminary competition between 1995 and 1999? I am afraid this is where the main contradiction to Kasparov's statements lies.
When I won the match [against Kramnik] I immediately realised that things were shaky and my match vs. Kasparov was up in the air. However officially it was still announced for October 1998, they were speculating about both Sevilla and Marbella as the location and Rentero repeatedly said in telephone conversations that the prize fund of 2 million dollars for the match was under control.
The sad truth became apparent in the end of August when Rentero finally admitted that the signature of Junta Andalucia never existed, that he had all the copies of the contract and he could just eat them rather than pay me the 200,000$ compensation for cancellation of the match as stated in the contract.
The WCC did not stop functioning however and rather cynically offered me to play the match in California for the prize fund of 600,000$ with 400,000$ going to the winner and 200,000$ for the loser and Kasparov accepting that! Well, 200,000$ guarantee for two matches (I mean that all that I got in Cazorla were the bills) had not been the case for quite a while in World Championships and I naturally refused it as I estimated it too low. I suggested the prize fund of 1,000,000$ with the distribution 600,000$ to the winner and 400,000$ to the loser instead.
I should state that the California offer with 600,000$ prize fund was the only more or less serious offer I've had until now. Later on Kasparov stated in many interviews that I had turned down the one million offer because of the different distribution (650 thousand to the winner and 350 thousand to the loser) and these statements are completely untrue. I have never seen the official one million offer and I already had had enough verbal offers made by Mr. Rentero.
I have also tried (and even got the verbal promises again!) to raise the prize money in Catalonia where I live but so far nothing is confirmed. Of course, Kasparov's continuous statements that he wants to play Anand don't improve the situation.
I presume that my legitimacy as the World Championship contender is not any lower than Kasparov's legitimacy as the World Champion. And if we follow the historical line and assume that the World championship outside FIDE still exists (although in future the agreement between players and FIDE should be made) then my match against Kasparov should finally be organized. I have won all the matches I played since 1991 with a high score, so I feel ready to beat Kasparov in the match play.
Alexei Shirov, 4.02.1999
Kasparov responded with his own statement.
I was ready to play Shirov and I did everything possible to facilitate that. However, I did not succeed in either Andalucia or California, who both potentially provided us with the opportunity of holding this match. However, my adversary considered the conditions offered to be insufficient. Indeed, the prize fund in the case of California just half that of Andalucia but we ended up in a similar position.
It is not only Shirov who has suffered. My material and moral losses can be compared with his. I spent six months preparing and I would also like to add that in September, I paid for preliminary work on organizing the match in California. This money has been lost.
The reality is that nobody wants to organize such a match. Potential sponsors are much more interested in a match between the number 1 and 2 chess players: Kasparov & Anand.
Alexei Shirov says that the Spanish province of Catalonia could organize the match, but as far as I know, the Catalonian Minister for Sports has only supported the idea of holding the match there and has not made a single practical move towards organizing it. Enrico Touret, a businessman from Barcelona, expressed interest but I have not received any offers from him for four months.
In order to compensate Shirov for his losses in some way, I have recently ceded to him the right to play a commercial match with Judith Polgar in the summer. The match is organized by Bessel Kok, has a prize fund of 200 thousand dollars, and will be held in Prague.
In an interview with Europe Echecs, Kramnik agreed with Shirov that Kasparov had an obligation to contest the promised match with Shirov. A match would also help Kasparov improve his tarnished image with the chess world. He declared that, for what little it mattered, Karpov was the official owner of the world championship title, and attributed Kasparov's fine playing form, especially in the openings, to his preparations for the match with Shirov. He also said his loss to Shirov in the WCC qualifying match was 'an accident' due to non-chess problems he was having at the time of the match.
Wijk aan Zee in January, Linares in February -- a year after the announcement of the WCC, Kasparov gave one of the most impressive performances of his career. He dominated the 8 player, category 20 double round robin tournament, and scored 10.5, to finish 2.5 points ahead of Anand and Kramnik. Against Anand, he drew in the first round and won in the second round.
At the end of the Linares tournament, Kasparov gave a press conference where he announced that he was withdrawing from an 'Advanced Chess' match against Anand in Leon, Spain, scheduled for June. The event had been confirmed in November. He said, "I want to teach the organisers a lesson on how to treat the World Champion", and objected to the phrase 'completely unacceptable' which the Spaniards had used in written correspondence to negotiate the terms of the match with his business manager. "I was very hurt by these words."
The organizers in turn pointed out that the clause they had deemed unacceptable was, as they phrased it, "if the match does not take place through the organisers' fault, then they still have to pay a large honorarium entirely, whereas if the match doesn't take place through Kasparov's fault then he wouldn't offer any kind of economic compensation to the organisation, and he would just have to give back any ADVANCE received. By the way, it was not agreed to advance any amount." They also announced that Karpov would replace Kasparov in the match against Anand.
A few weeks later, Canadian promoter Serge Grimaux proposed a different match between Kasparov and Anand. Grimaux is known for arranging live events, such as pop concerts, in the Czech Republic.
The Press Release of Serge Grimaux
GM Garry Kasparov Vs. GM Vishy Anand
The Ultimate World Chess Championship
Following several weeks of discussions which started earlier this year in Madrid Friday, March 12, during a meeting attended by the current World Chess Champion and the highest ranked player after him, it is now official: GM Garry Kasparov has accepted to put at stake the World Champion title he now holds for more then thirteen years and defend it against the ever amazing Vishy Anand.
The detailed offer prepared by Serge Grimaux, a Canadian entrepreneur in the field of live entertainment for more then twenty years, currently active in North America as well as in Central Europe, has received full backing of world known Chess mentors respected by the entire Chess community and headed by Mr. Bessel Kok, GM Fridrik Olafson (former FIDE President) and Dr. William Wirth.
As Mr. Kasparov stated it: "I have always welcomed Championships as they are the essence of every sport. A World Championship is even more exciting. Meeting with Vishy will certainly provide the kind of chess games which will be followed, like never before, throughout the entire planet.
The offer will expire this coming Friday, April 23, 1999, at midnight London time, U.K., but, as stated above, has already received the acceptance of GM Garry Kasparov. Everyone is now waiting for GM Vishy Anand to act similarly.
The host city of the Championship will be decided by a committee of Chess organizing experts. The Championship is scheduled to commence in October 1999. The prize fund is comprised of US$3,000,000: US$2,000,000 for the winner and US$1,000,000 for the other party.
Kasparov immediately accepted the offer, but the deadline passed without any formal response from Anand. As the press release came on the heels of the cancellation of the 'Advanced Chess' match with Anand, some observers suspected that Kasparov's motives for cancelling were not entirely due to a contractual dispute with the Leon organizers.
Kramnik won the 8th Melody Amber Tournament held in Monaco in March. The 12 player, category 18 double round robin tournament followed the same format as in previous years. The winner finished with 14.5 points, followed by Topalov (2700) & Shirov with 14, and Anand with 11.5. Anand won the rapid game round robin with 7.5, but finished far behind the three winners of the blindfold round robin.
In April, Adams (2716) won a 10 player, category 18 tournament at Dos Hermanas (Seville), Spain with 6.0. Kramnik was 2nd with 5.5, Karpov tied for 5-6th with 4.5, and Anand finished tied for 8-10th with 3.5 (+0-2=7). In an interview with the Indian Express, Anand said that he was not concerned about his result at Dos Hermanas. He attributed his poor finish to too much chess during the previous months. Asked about the match with Kasparov he said that he was 'still considering it'.
In May, Kasparov won a 10 player, category 19 tournament at Sarajevo, Bosnia, with a score of 7.0 and without losing a single game. Shirov tied for 2nd-3rd with Bareev (2679) at 6.0. Kasparov and Shirov drew their individual encounter, after which Kasparov praised his opponent's resourceful play, although Shirov declined to conduct a post mortem analysis with Kasparov. While the tournament was being played, NATO warplanes flew over Bosnia to attack Serb military positions in the Kosovo conflict. When asked about Anand's refusal to sign the contract with Grimaux, Kasparov answered, "What has he been thinking about for eight weeks? If he prefers to play in Las Vegas, the offer will go to Shirov." He also mentioned that the contract obligated the winner to defend the title in 2001 following an eight player candidates tournament.
The match is on... maybe
In June, Grimaux issued a press release announcing that Anand had agreed to play a match with Kasparov.
THE ULTIMATE WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP
GM GARRY KASPAROV Vs. GM VISWANATHAN ANAND
THE MILLENNIUM BATTLE OF THE MINDS
Prague, Czech Republic, June 6, 1999
After several weeks of negotiations Serge Grimaux proudly announced today that World Champion GM Garry Kasparov and Challenger GM Viswanathan Anand, #2 World Player and two time Chess Oscar Winner, both signed a very detailed and professionally prepared contract whereby the World Champion will defend his title against the Challenger in a World Championship to be held in the last quarter of this year.
Bessel Kok, Chairman of the Organizing Committee further composed of GM Fridrik Olafsson and Dr. William Wirth stated: "This is the Championship everybody has been waiting for and which certainly will be considered as the Millennium Battle of the Minds." Sixteen games will be played. In case of a draw GM Kasparov will retain his title. The Prize Fund will be of US$3,000,000 .
The signatories to the agreement have agreed to an exciting format where instead of granting the runner-up of the 1999 World Championship an automatic rematch, there will instead be a new Challenger Cycle in 2000 the winner of which will be nominated the Challenger for the next World Championship title scheduled for 2001.
As Serge Grimaux stated: "I would like to thank World Champion, GM Garry Kasparov as well as GM Viswanathan Anand #2 World Chess Player and twice Chess Oscar Winner, for having refrain from the right to request a rematch in case they would lose the Championship, hereby clearing the way for a financially attractive Challenger Cycle."
The Ultimate World Chess Championship will be under the supervision of the Organizing Committee which will meet next this coming July 10, 1999, in Prague, Czech Republic, during the Garry Kasparov EuroTel Trophy 1999 match, featuring GM Alexei Shirov Vs. GM Judith Polgar, and will then review the overall status and important elements of the event.
Questions shall be directed to: Serge Grimaux
Serge Grimaux, was the organizer of the very successful EuroTel Chess Tournament presented in Prague last September where GM Garry Kasparov defeated GM Jan Timman. From The Rolling Stones to Maestro Luciano Pavarotti, from David Copperfield to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Company, from Miles Davis to Michael Jackson, he has been involved in live presentations of all sorts for the last twenty five years, in Canada as well as in several European countries.
At the same time, Anand declined to sign his contract to play at the FIDE event in Las Vegas, which would have prevented him from playing any match against Kasparov. Speculation was that the match would be played in October, would be held in Prague, New York, or London, and would be sponsored by a major high tech company. The 'Challenger Cycle' was reported variously to be 8, 10, 16, and 32 players. It was understood that details would be announced 10 July during the EuroTel Trophy match.
Shirov soon issued his own press release.
Official Press Release 2
More than five months have passed since my first press release. It's definitely not my style to write open letters, however after so much desinformation around my match against Kasparov (now in fact the match Kasparov- Anand) I feel that I have to clear some points. Just for chess' sake.
Even before my first press release was published, Kasparov had stated that he wanted to play Anand because 'it was impossible to find money for the match Shirov-Kasparov' and that 'the match Shirov-Kasparov was not interesting for sponsors because Anand was much stronger'. Kasparov repeated these statements until finally on 3rd of June this year Anand was rumoured (I can't find a better word since the official announcement is to be made on 10th of July) to sign the contract for their match.
Let me refute these statements one by one. First of all, Anand is not anymore stronger than me. Nor is he in comparison with ,for example, Kramnik and Morozevich. His last two tournament performances in Monaco and Dos Hermanas were complete failures as he was behind his main rivals. And now, after my relative success in Sarajevo my WCC rating is even higher than Anand's. I don't give much importance to the WCC rating but it's Kasparov who always considers the WCC rating to be more objective than the FIDE rating. Complete contradiction. When last year I collapsed in Dortmund, Kasparov was quick to say that my performance diminished sponsors' interest for the match. What has changed until now when Anand shared the last place in Dos Hermanas? Strange game.
A few words about Anand's legitimacy. Everybody knows that last year Anand refused to play the candidate's match vs. Kramnik, let me call it 'semifinal'. And now when I replaced him in the semifinal and qualified for the final, he goes to take my place apparently without any conscience problems! As if believing that it's not his problem that I don't have sponsors for the match and the people who want to make Kasparov-Anand match don't recognize my legitimacy.
And the absence of sponsors is not the true case at all. Now it's 100% clear to me that if Kasparov had always recognized me as his only legitimate opponent for the World Championship match, it would have been possible to make it. And he revealed himself when at the end of May he publicly stated that if Anand refused then he would play against me. So, it was definitely not a money problem that Kasparov preferred to play Anand instead of me. And the real reasons one will never know. I could only add that in March, during the Linares tournament Kasparov refused to have a telephone conversation with the Catalan manager Enric Turet who was working hard trying to make my match against Kasparov in Barcelona and Terrasa. And shortly after that (on March 12, I believe) Kasparov accepted the offer of Mr. Serge Grimaux, the promoter of Kasparov-Anand match, it remained just to wait for Anand's answer. And since the answer could come at any time, any organization that was interested in my match against Kasparov (apart from Mr.Turet I was also contacted by people in Poland, England and USA) could find it useless to go on working on it.
My last and real chance to play against Kasparov would have been Anand's negative responce to Mr. Grimaux's offer. But this was too much a hope as in our world a lot of people strive for money and more money, so Anand proved to be no exception by taking what doesn't belong to him. I consider both Anand and Kasparov guilty for depriving me of the World Championship match and that this century will end with their inlegitimate 'World Championship'.
Alexei Shirov, 14.06.1999
In June, Anand beat Karpov in the Advanced Chess Match in Leon, Spain, by a score of 5-1 (+4-0=2). A few weeks later Kasparov won the 4 player, category 21, quadruple round robin Siemens Giants rapidplay event, held as part of the Frankfurt Chess Classic. His score of 7.5 put him ahead of Anand and Kramnik at 6.0, while Karpov trailed at 4.5. Proving his superiority over his rivals, Kasparov won each of his individual matches with the same score of +1-0=3. In the same event, the computer program Fritz 6 (unrated) won the 8 player, category 15, double round robin Frankfurt-West Masters with 9.5, ahead of seven strong grandmasters. Leko (2694) and Topalov (2700) finished 2nd-3rd with 9.0. The tournament's category would have been higher if Fritz had carried a rating. At the end of the same event, Anand played Fritz in a four game match, winning +1-0=3.
On 21 June in New York, Kasparov played 1.e4 as the first move of Kasparov vs. the World. The event, held on the Microsoft Network (MSN), allowed players all around the world to vote for the next move to be played against Kasparov. The move with the most votes was chosen as the World's move. The World chose the Sicilian Defence with 1... c5 and the game continued 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7. The MSN Internet site quickly received 2 million hits, causing temporary problems, but showing the immense interest in a quality chess event.
The July 1999 FIDE rating list had Kasparov (2851) 1st, followed by Anand (2771), Kramnik (2760), Morozevich (2758), and Shirov (2734). Karpov (2700) dropped to tenth on the list.
In July, Leko (2701) won the 8 player, category 19 tournament at Dortmund, with 5.0. Kramnik finished 2nd with 4.5, followed by Karpov, Anand, and Adams (2708) with 4.0.
At about the same time, Shirov won a six game match (+5-0=1) against J.Polgar (2671) to win the EuroTel Trophy in Prague. The trophy was presented to Shirov by Kasparov. Kok was also present at the match, but made no announcement about the Kasparov - Anand match. Most observers suspected that the organizers had not been able to find a sponsor. Some speculated that the interest generated by the forthcoming FIDE World Championship in Las Vegas would create sponsorship opportunities for the Grimaux event.
FIDE crowns a new world champion
In the quarterfinal round of the Las Vegas knockout tournament, Shirov was eliminated by L. Nisipeanu and Kramnik was eliminated by Adams. The surprise victory of Khalifman reopened the debate on how world championship chess matches should be conducted. Making his own position clear, FIDE President Ilyumzhinov said, 'I want to congratulate Alexander Khalifman, the 14th World Chess Champion. I want to invite him to play again next year to defend his title. From now on, the World Champion must defend his title on the chessboard, not in press conferences or in the courts.'
A few weeks after the Las Vegas tournament ended, Kuruvilla Abraham, Anand's manager, announced that the Kasparov - Anand match would not be held in 1999.
Text of Mr. Kuruvilla Abraham, manager of GM V.Anand in Chennai sent out to Indian newspapers on Tuesday 14th September 1999.
The much awaited match between Viswanathan Anand and Garry Kasparov will not happen this year. The 16 game championship, which was to have taken place in October this year, has been canceled due to lack of sponsorship. The event was originally to have been sponsored by a Silicon Valley mega- corporation who pulled out in the last minute due to a conflict of interest caused by Kasparov's, Microsoft backed, Internet based chess match.
As a sequence, the promoter Mr. Serge Grimaux, was unable to finalise an alternative sponsor within the deadline prescribed by the formal agreement signed by all parties involved.
Subsequently, Mr. Grimaux requested and was given 30 further business days (holidays and weekends not included) to make other sponsorship arrangements. However, despite his best efforts, adequate sponsorship commitments were not finalised during this extended period and therefore the championship now stands canceled.
Mr. Grimaux is yet to make an official statement about the status of this championship, which would have been a face off between the two strongest players of the world. A team of eminent people headed by Mr. Bessel Kok had informed the committee under whose authority the championship was supposed to have been organised. The committee may meet at a later date to decide on a future championship.
Viswanathan Anand, who had kept away from the FIDE Championship due to his contractual obligation to this event, stated, "It is sad that the championship will not happen this year. It would have meant a big boost for committed commercial sponsorship of chess."
It is also unfortunate that Garry Kasparov, went ahead with a press conference in London to announce that the championship was cancelled before the expiry of the extended organising period given to Mr. Grimaux by all signatories to the agreement. All the signatories were bound by a clause of confidentiality, which Mr. Kasparov has not seen necessary to honour.
Kasparov's manager responded with his own press release.
WORLD CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP NOT CANCELLED
I have read the press release attributed to Mr. Kuruvilla Abraham, Manager of Vishy Anand, and it contains sufficient inaccuracies to warrant a response. It also makes a salacious attack upon my client which needs attention.
Mr. Abraham commences by saying that the match between Kasparov and Anand will not take place this year and next says "has been cancelled" and again in the third paragraph says "now stands cancelled". It is, therefore, Mr. Abraham who has jumped the gun and made a statement that should have come from Bessel Kok (Chairman) or Serge Grimaux (Promoter). What caused Mr. Abraham to rush into print with a cancelled statement is beyond my comprehension especially as it is my understanding that his client does not think the match is cancelled.
Next, Mr. Abraham compounds his errors by making a statement about a Silicon Valley corporation pulling out at the last minute due to a conflict of interest caused by the Kasparov-Microsoft match. This is pure fiction! The potential sponsor knew about the Microsoft match and I was with Garry when the Chairman of the potential sponsoring company said that the Microsoft match was not a problem to them.
Where does Mr. Abraham get this stuff? Perhaps he would be good enough to tell us?
Then comes a low blow as Mr. Abraham tries to lay the failure for no sponsorship on Garry Kasparov. The facts are that the committee took on the task of finding the site, sponsor and organization about nine months ago and soon turned the organization and the all important guarantees over to Mr. Grimaux. Serge Grimaux had his contracts out to both players well before Garry revealed that he "might" have a total sponsor for not just one but for many years. We cautioned them against stopping other sponsorship solicitations. This was done verbally and in writing.
If Mr. Abraham cares to check, he will discover that Serge and the committee went into this agreement a long time ago and at that time, led us to believe that they had excellent sponsorship prospects. To try and blame Garry is a very cheap shot indeed!
Errors are compounded in the last paragraph which reads "It is also unfortunate that Garry Kasparov went ahead with a press conference in London to announce that the championship was cancelled before the expiry of the extended organizing period given to Mr. Grimaux by all signatories to the agreement. All the signatories were bound by a clause of confidentiality, which Mr. Kasparov has not seen necessary to honor." The press conference in London was called by Microsoft and had nothing to do with the World Championship. The only question asked about the World Championship was whether Microsoft would be the sponsor? A Microsoft representative answered and not Garry, and a transcript of the conference is available. So now, we have no statement by Garry as described by Mr. Abraham. After the conference, Garry was asked privately about the match and he was very careful with his answers saying that he could not see the likelihood of the match taking place this year and what is important, at no stage did Garry say that the match was cancelled.
The last sentence of Mr. Abraham's release is insulting and if he is deliberately trying to kill off a potential match, then insulting Garry is the best way to set about it. I hope he will apologize.
Owen Williams Agent for Garry Kasparov
The last word was spoken by Serge Grimaux.
The Ultimate World Chess Championship
GM G.Kasparov vs. GM V.Anand
Postponed to the Early Part of 2000
Friday, October 1st, 1999
After many months of negotiations with several major American corporations in the field of information technology, which had given the Committee and the event promoter, Serge Grimaux, strong indications to support the Ultimate World Chess Championship, unfortunately no agreement was able to be reached.
Consequently contractual and logistic deadlines cannot be met and the Committee will review with the players a possible date for the event in the early part of 2000.
In the meantime a major European city has offered to host the match, providing all the necessary infrastructure in terms of logistic and venue.
Negotiations are currently taking place with alternative sponsors.
No sponsor was found. Anand later identified EuroTel as the company which paid him for the aborted match. The amount of 200.000 US$ was disclosed by other sources.
A few weeks after the Grimaux announcement, the World resigned its game against Kasparov. Although the end of the game was marred by accusations of ballot stuffing and technical difficulties in posting the coaches' recommendations, the event was a great success. It showed that the Internet was a viable medium for promoting interest in chess. Kasparov said, "It was an incredible game, such a mixture of pleasure and irritation. This game consumed much time and energy, but it was an amazing fight". Interest continued after the game when Kasparov tried to prove that he had a win in a controversial position, while other strong players tried to refute his analysis.
The weeks around the year 2000 changeover saw a curious exchange between Feng-hsiung Hsu, the principal designer of IBM's Deep Blue chess computer, and Owen Williams, Kasparov's agent. In an open letter, Feng-hsiung Hsu offered the third match that Kasparov had been seeking since the disastrous 1997 match with Deep Blue. For reasons which are not completely clear from the correspondence, Kasparov declined.
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