25 November 2009

Asleep at the Wheel

I finally got around to updating my page on the 2009 World Cup. I added a link to the official site (the same domain that was used for the, 2007 World Cup). About time, too, since the event started a few days ago and is already in the second round.


While reading various posts on the Khanty-Mansiysk event, I noticed that one well-known, well-respected chess journalist had mistakenly reported that the top two players would qualify into the 2010 Candidates Event, when in fact only one slot is reserved for the World Cup. I'll cut him some slack -- the only people who never make mistakes are people who never do anything, and this particular journalist is a regular dynamo in his reporting on world class chess. Then I noticed that, after admitting the error and correcting it in the original post, the same journalist wrote a second post with the following disclaimer.

Sorry for leaving the erroneous information about the two Cup finalists qualifying for the next stage of the candidates up for so long. Was going from old version of the frequently changed rules (for an event that doesn't even exist yet, of course). In the latest version, only the World Cup winner goes through, which is a relief.

I'm fairly certain that FIDE has never changed that particular rule. A year ago the World Federation changed the structure of the 'Candidates Event' from a two-player match to an eight-player format (a choice between matches or a tournament was later decided in favor of a series of knockout matches), and was roundly condemned for changing the format of a cycle that had already started. Since formally announcing the rules in June, FIDE hasn't changed the seeding of the qualifying players into the same Candidates Event.

It's possible that before FIDE's announcement there were rumors that the list of qualifying players would change. There is no doubt that chess journalism is often driven by rumors -- frequently titled 'Breaking News' -- and that the major chess news services thrive on these rumors to attract visitors to their sites, but these rumors can in no way be considered 'rules'.

After the 2008-09 Grand Prix fiasco, where half of the events initially announced turned out to be imaginary, FIDE appears to have learned not to make announcements until they have signed contracts. A case in point is the Anand - Topalov title match. Widely rumored last month by the chess news services that it would be held in Sofia during April 2010, the match has still not been officially announced by FIDE.

Blaming FIDE for the mistakes of other journalists, or even worse, for one's own mistakes, diminishes the reputation of all chess journalists. It also feeds the headless chicken hysteria (I can't think of a more apt phrase) and the fault finding that inevitably follows the latest rumors.

If I'm wrong about any of the 'facts' I've mentioned here, I'll admit it and take my licks. It wouldn't be the first time.

1 comment:

Klaus Johnson said...

The press lease from the 79th FIDE Congress (November 26th 2008) reported that there would be two qualifiers from the World Cup. http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/3552-the-79th-fide-congress-completed-its-session-in-dresden

On December 4th, 2008 FIDE announced a bidding structure for the candidates tournament and the world championship match which also stated that there would be two qualifiers from the 2009 world cup. http://www.fide.com/component/content/article/1-fide-news/3578-bidding-procedure-for-the-world-championship-cycle-2009-2011.

And here's the link to the current regulations, which correctly put the # of world cup qualifiers to one. http://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/regscandidates.pdf