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Jun 28,2002

chess chess

Genrikh Chepukaitis

There are still crowns to be won

The FIDE and Kalmykia president Kirsan Iliumzhinov does everything in his power and beyond to unite the chess world. The third knock-out championship can be called a tradition already.

The risk to fail at the beginning is more than a risk. V. Anand was on the verge of a defeat in the first championship, and anyway he did not become a champion after he met a fresh adversary in the final, A. Karpov. The fourteenth World Champion A. Khalifman had two knock-downs on his way up at the second championship but he managed to cope with these “trifles”. What will happen this time?

The computer arranged challengers according to their ratings, and the rating difference in pairs of the first round makes 60-300 points. Weaker players can hope for their good luck, for the aha factor, for a chance, for rapid games. They are not absolutely hopeless. Remember that such players as Shirov, Gelfand, Kramnik, Topalov and Adams already took part in this race and know well that the competition will be fierce. At least their results at previous championships were lower than their ambitions, a knock-out event is a harsh test. Maybe we shall see Leko in the final? Or someone of the St.Petersburg Kings?

Kasparov, Kramnik and Karpov won’t play at the championship. Well, their privileges are minimal here, and the coryphaei are cautious. The XIIIth World Champion pronounced against all FIDE arrangements long ago, together with its president. Nevertheless, amateurs like the knock-out system, and those grandmasters who never play in Linares or Sarajevo have an opportunity to earn some money. The game of chess accumulates by order less funds than, for instance, tennis. Tennis organisers pay those who know how to work with the racket just a little, whereas grandmasters have to beg. Accommodation, board, travel expenses and some prizes are available only for the best ones, and an overwhelming majority of players can only dream about participating in an interesting event. Unfortunately, chess is not very popular in the world.

Most probably we shall revert to our prognoses after the first round when some sensational defeats will already reduce the list of possible winners. There is no doubt about this, so guessing will become easier. Almost one third of participants will turn into observers. The rating difference also will decrease. Probably we shall be able even to judge about the form of favourites. Of course we shall publish and annotate games.

The Olympiad already seems to be a remote event against the coming championship, but don’t forget that the Russian gold team will be presented there completely. A record, by the way!



"He who fears an isolated queen's pawn should give up chess". Siegbert Tarrasch

"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move"! David Bronstein.

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