27 July 2011

FIDE's Got a Secret

Q: How do you pack a four stage qualifying cycle into three years? • A: You hold one stage per year and let the first stage of a new cycle overlap the last stage of the previous cycle. This is how the World Championship was organized from 1950 until 1990, when the title match for cycle X was held in the same year as the zonals for cycle X+1. This worked for 14 cycles.

Q: How do you pack a four stage qualifying cycle into two years? • A: No one seems to know. • FIDE's solution: You schedule the second stage of the cycle, aka the 'World Cup', every two years, preferably at Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. This fixes the schedule for the first stage -- the zonals and continental championships -- during the months before the World Cup. As for the third and fourth stages, you issue regulations and bidding procedures whenever you think the time is right and hope that someone is paying attention (or maybe you hope that no one is paying attention, thereby sparing you any criticism).

According to Google, the Rules & Regulations for the Candidates Matches of the FIDE World Championship cycle 2011-2013 were published on 16 May 2011. They were unaccompanied by any of the usual marketing nonsense like a press release or a news item on Fide.com. Why let your light shine when you can hide it under a bushel basket?

Why all the hush-hush? One reason might be that we are once again faced with that situation peculiar to today's FIDE that I call Two Overlapping World Championship Cycles. This guarantees that no one can follow the events except FIDE insiders, of whom there are few; it helps them feel important. Another reason might be that we are faced with the exact same format that bored everyone and was roundly criticized in the recent 2011 Candidates Event at Kazan, Russia. Yet another reason might be that FIDE can make changes to the 'Rules & Regulations' whenever they fancy, then claim, 'But it wasn't official!' Still another reason might be the chronic incompetence that plagues FIDE leadership.

I suspect it's all of the above and then some. Come on, FIDE, you've had six years since Kasparov handed you exclusive ownership of the World Championship. It's time you start acting like professionals. Do you really want to be the world's largest *amateur* sports organization?


mdamien said...

Did you mean, "six years since Kramnik handed you exclusive ownership of the World Championship"?

Mark Weeks said...

mdamien - I wrote exactly what I meant. - Mark