08 November 2007

The Players Protest

The 'protests' concern the next two legs of the FIDE World Championship cycle 2007-2009 -- the World Cup and the two semi-final matches. Chessbase.com published interviews with two of the three players who declined to play in the forthcoming World Cup (Leko was the third).

Morozevich provided a direct answer: (Q) 'Many of your followers are very disappointed that you have opted out of the forthcoming World Cup, the winner of which will play a match against Topalov, for the right to play a world championship match in the next cycle. Why did you refuse to play?' • (A) 'Several months ago, FIDE changed the rules yet again, to give Topalov the immediate right to play the final candidates match. And in Sofia at that. I do not understand the reason for this; it looks ridiculous. Given my relations with Topalov, such a match in Sofia is never going to happen, and I cannot play the tournament without being motivated to want to win it.' • That raises a new question about his 'relations with Topalov', which is noted. All things in time.

Gelfand was more mysterious: (Q) 'For the next cycle you are empty-handed, while other players have privileges. What are your intentions in the next cycle? Do you hope to make another big assault?' • (A) 'It is very important for me to have a proper World Championship cycle, and that’s why I did my best to use this opportunity, as it was first real cycle since 1995. I am very disappointed that FIDE decided to keep the tradition of a world championship match and abandoned tradition of a world championship cycle. I don’t think that it is less important tradition.' • I'm not at all sure what he is saying here. Did he answer the questions?

Chessbase is known to hype the chess news from time to time (remember the 2005 Needleman affair?), but its coverage of an emerging feud between Anand and Kramnik could be the real thing.

Russian players have often been the beneficiaries of favorable treatment from FIDE, with Karpov the biggest recipient (1975, 1985-86, 1993, 1997, more?). Kramnik likes to stand on principle when his own rights are at stake (1997 Groningen, 2004 post-Leko match), but has a history of turning his back on the other players (Shirov, Kasparov 2000, Unification 2002) when it's to his advantage.

Some of the informed commentary on the feud has been enlightening.

There are three points when people will pay attention to a chess match : when it's announced, when contractual negotiations are underway, and when it's being played. The players are right to seek attention at those times. I trust the whiff of bad blood is no more than this.


I had originally intended to write The Players Doth Protest as the title of this post. Then it occurred to me that 'doth' might be singular, as in Shakespeare's famous 'the lady doth protest too much'. I was right to be wary. Answers.com defines doth as 'v. Archaic; A third person singular present tense of do.' Furthermore, according to Reference.com's entry (doth), there is no plural equivalent.

No comments: