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World Chess Championship
2002-03 Unification


Breaking News:
History made in Prague
By Shay Bushinsky

Kasparov: With this agreement we have reinstated the unique value of the World Chess Champion title , a title 10 years older than the modern Olympiad

On the phone with Garry Kasparov - Garry explained how the reunification of the world of chess was achieved and it means.

Who said chess players can not apply ingenuity beyond the chess board itself? A new world championship structure has been created in Prague. Its cornerstones are:

Two parallel reunification events to be held -

Arm 1: The Dortmund qualification match to be held as scheduled. Winner will play Vladimir Kramnik

Arm 2: A match between Ruslan Ponomariov , the FIDE World Champion, and Garry Kasparov , the highest - rated player in the world

This match is scheduled to be held a year from now ( there no precise date yet). The winners of both arms will play each other for the reunified world chess champion title The final matches will last no more than 12 games (not finalized).

The gist of the deal is a trade between FIDE, Kasparov and Kramnik. Kramnik and Kasparov will revoke all claims to any alternative world champion title. FIDE will approves a new professional body to be headed by Bessel Kok . It will determined the face of professional chess.

This means returning to classical chess and determining the rules and guidelines of the world championship cycle. This also means that the new organization will be responsible for attracting sponsorship and funds to professional chess.

Because all of this is fresh, few details are known about the nature of the new cycle (the one to follow reunification)

A qualification system will be applied: an interesting "double elimination" system proposed by Alexander Khalifman is being examined according to which a grandmasters are eliminated only after losing two matches. This system is meant to avoid elimination merely because a player had a "bad day".

The quallification tournament will traditionally begin with 128 grandmasters. Ultimately six players will reach the final stages . There are two versions of this : Either four or five of those who win the qualification tournament , are joined by the highest rated chess player .

(In the four qualifier version, the sixth player would be the loser of the previous world title match - the world champion finalist).

Out of the six players , three would remain and be joined by the previous world champion in the semi final matches , to be followed by a final match. The new professional organization headed by Bessel Kok will include a committee of professional grandmasters which would supervise the conditions and the rules of the world championship cycle. The candidates for this committee are GM Yasser Seirawan and GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

The organization is to be considered a private body and would obtain a special license from the FIDE for the next five years .

The agreement has been signed by Kasparov, Kramnik and FIDE President Kirsan Illumzhinov, who expects the FIDE general assembly to ratify it within 90 Days.

This article originally appeared at It has been reused with permission.


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