Neither war nor confrontation

6/7/2005 – There is hardly a person in the world who knows FIDE's plans for world chess better than deputy president Georgios Makropoulos. In fact he has developed many of them himself. Recently "Makro" spoke about them to Russian news magazine Sport Express, touching on many subjects that are of great interest to chess fans all over the world. We bring you excerpts.

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Neither war nor confrontation

In this interview, which took place in the Grand Hotel in Sofia, Sport Express chess journalist Yuri Vasiliev speaks with FIDE deputy president Georgios Makropoulos, who knows every aspect of FIDE's plans for the world championship cycle. A short time before Makropoulos had met with a number of players who are going to participate in the world championship in Argentina in September. The interview appeared on June 1st, 2005 in Sport Express. Here some excerpts:

  • On Kasparov's retirement: We are all still in a state of shock. Chess has lost its greatest hero. But we must try to understand Kasparov. A new life has begun for him. We are indebted to Kasparov, who is a great sportsman and artist and has created remarkable works in the art of chess. They served as lessons and will serve as lessons for generations. FIDE is indebted to Kasparov because his contribution to popularising the game is enormous.

  • On the players selected for the Argentine world championship: Ponomariov had an opportunity to play against Kasparov, but he squandered it. the exclusion of Ivanchuk and Shirov was painful. But we followed the system introduced by FIDE in 1997. Changing rules would be wrong; it would create an impression we want to accommodate someone, and throw someone out.

  • What will the winner of San Luis be? The World Champion – nobody should have any doubts about that. Everything was planned with the objective of getting the strongest players, whose fighting one another will produce the new World Champion, acknowledged as such by everyone.

  • On the Prague agreement: It was conceived to get Kasparov back in the official world championship arena, but with his exit the Prague agreement lost its meaning. Kramnik, too, made it clear that he did not intend to play against either Kasparov or Kasimdzhanov.

  • On Kramnik's proposal that he play the winner of the FIDE championship: The tournament in Argentina is not a qualifier, it is the World Championship. Kramnik made a decision not to play in Argentina. We cannot ask our own World Champion to play against him.

  • Can such a match be arranged anyway? It is not possible, since all players taking part in Argentina have signed an undertaking not to participate in any championship cycle outside FIDE. Those undertakings are legally enforceable.

  • On the next cycle: There will be continental chess championships, the World Cup, a "last last chance super tournament" and Candidates matches. The players who were 3rd and 4th in Argentina will join the eight qualifiers, and five matches will be played. The five winners will be joined by the player who was second in Argentina. The six players will play the quarter-finals. The world champion will join the three winners, i.e. he or she will join in at the semi-final stage. We have tried to find a compromise with the leading players. We propose a system which will make all of them more or less happy.

  • On time controls: For the world cup (128-player knockout) there will be the FIDE 90 minute control. The Candidate matches, the super tournament and match for the world champion title will have a 7-hour control.

  • Prize fund: Only for the stage of continental championships and the World Cup, FIDE will attract five million dollars in the coming two years. This money is not from the pocket of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, but money attracted thanks to our work.

  • On the Sofia anti-draw rule: This is a positive development, and I hope we can implement them at some juncture for the FIDE official tournaments. But it is a fairly serious task and cannot be considerd earlier than at the FIDE congress in 2008.

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  • On the next FIDE president to be elected next year: I don’t see any other candidate for the presidential post than Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Kirsan is the only president in FIDE’s history who has spent a considerable amount of money on chess. No matter what they say or write about him, everyone understands that he has done a lot for chess..


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