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World Chess Championship
2002-03 Unification


Prague Meeting & Unification
Moscow Press Conference & Einstein Statement

Ilyumzhinov offers an alternative way to play out the world championships!

A press conference was held this afternoon, devoted to the beginning of the second stage of the FIDE Grand Prix. The main participants were, naturally, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Garry Kasparov.

Those issues connected with the Prague agreement understandably generated the most interest. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has noted, that the document signed in Prague, was by no means just a declaration of intentions, rather a binding contract signed by all interested parties. According to Ilyumzhinov, the attempts to derail this agreement are directed against the unification of the chess world and seek to create obstacles in the organization of the unifying match to determine the absolute world champion. Ilyumzhinov has also admitted that some details remain as yet unresolved about a match between Kramnik and the winner of the candidate's tournament in Dortmund (the venue and the prize fund have yet to be decided).

According to Garry Kasparov, from the very birth of the unification plan (Yasser Seirawan's 'Fresh Start') the greatest difficulties were on the part of Vladimir Kramnik. Yasser Seirawan talks about it in detail ( see "From a Fresh Start to a New Dawn Part 1-3") .

Kasparov has also noted the fact that many Grandmasters have benefited by the division in the chess world since it has allowed them to sell their loyalties and allegiances.

Furthermore, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov touched on the FIDE Presidential Council's reaction to the 'Grandmasters' open letter'. Reflecting on the thoughts expressed in this letter, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov presented another very complex and multistage scheme of unification, which might hopefully be acceptable to all the interested parties. Kasparov has noted, that it is not the final version, rather only one of a number of possibilities which can be discussed, and, personally, he considers the Prague agreement as the real basis for unification.

The Scheme:

1. May-June 2003: A tournament between - Kasparov, Kramnik and Ponomariov, who will play a quadruple round robin tournament (consisting of 12 games). The first two players play an eight-game match between them. The winner of the match is proclaimed as The Absolute World Champion.

2. July 2003: A qualifying knockout tournament with 96 players, where the first 6 qualify.

3. October 2003: Candidate's matches, consisting of 10 players. The 6 selected in a knockout tournament including Anand with Ivanchuk and the winner of the Dortmund candidates tournament and the last place from the " tournament of three " - Kasparov, Kramnik or Ponomariov. Each match will consist of 4 games.

4. May 2004: 6 players participate in the candidate's matches: the 5 winners of the previous matches and the loser of the match for the absolute world champion (Kasparov, Kramnik or Ponomariov). Six games will be played in each match.

5. October 2004: Four players participate in the candidate's matches: the 3 winners of previous matches, plus the world champion. Each match will consist of eight games.

6. May 2005: A final of 10 games will be played between the two winners of previous matches.

The next knockout qualification for the following cycle will begin in December 2004.

Commenting on this plan, Kasparov has noted, that it obviously does not favor the Dortmund participants. The winner of it will qualify for participation in candidate matches instead of a match with Kramnik.

Unfortunately, Kramnik was absent from the press conference. According to Alexander Roshal, he had a long phone conversation with Kramnik, but Vladimir refused to come, referring to the fact he does not participate in the Grand Prix.

Eugeny Sveshnikov has complained about not being able to compete in the Grand Prix because of the lack of a fair selection process. The Grandmaster stated that he could give a pawn odds to those participants who qualified from the Internet. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has promised to include Eugeny Sveshnikov in the following stage as his own nominee.

Answering a question about when the next stage of the Grand Prix is going to take place, the President said that it is unclear at present. FIDE officials said that the information on the following stages of the Grand Prix would be announced at the closing of the Moscow tournament.


Following the press conference given in Moscow by FIDE President H.E. Kirsan Iljumzhinov and Garry Kasparov, Madame Nahed Ojjeh (Paris) and the Einstein Group plc (London) would like to issue the following statement.

Statement on behalf of Madame Nahed Ojjeh and Einstein Group

Einstein Group reaffirms its intention to go ahead with its Classical Chess World Championship cycle as agreed in Prague beginning with the Candidates Tournament in Dortmund, which will start on July 6th, 2002.

Einstein Group will organise the resulting match for the title of Classical World Chess Champion between Vladimir Kramnik and the winner of Dortmund. This match will take place in April/May 2003.

Einstein Group and Classical World Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik remain, therefore, fully committed to the agreement made in Prague on the 6th May and support the idea of unification to be achieved after the Einstein World Championship Match has taken place as described in that agreement.

The Candidates Tournament at Dortmund will be supported by NAO Chess and Madame Nahed Ojjeh. Madame Nahed Ojjeh is pleased to announce that she will provide an increased prize fund at Dortmund of EURO 300.000 (net of taxes).

Split: 1st: EURO 100.000; 2nd: EURO 80.000; 3-4: EURO 40.000; 5-8: EURO 10.000.

6. Madame Nahed Ojjeh and Einstein Group declare their intention to cooperate in future projects including the Classical World Chess Championship, Elite Classical Chess tournaments and to promote Chess in learning and education, through school and internet projects.

Paris, 31 May 2002

Madame Nahed Ojjeh

London, 31 May 2002

Steve Timmins

(CEO Einstein Group)

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


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