Ruslan Ponomariov's Open Letter to the ACP

4/7/2004 – "I am not trying to hold on to my title whatever it takes," writes the still-reigning FIDE champion, "but I can’t put up with the absolute dictatorship of FIDE. I am ready to defend my title on the conditions that were clearly set at the time I won it." He also attacks Garry Kasparov for the "exclusive privileges" he has received. Here's the letter and relevant links...

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To the Members of the ACP

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to inform you about my views on the most important issues of chess life.

The latest FIDE decisions regarding the World Championship granted exclusive privileges to GM Garry Kasparov. This is unprecedented, not only in chess history, but probably in the complete Olympic history as well. Mr. Kasparov bestowed on himself the title “Strongest chess player of the world”, even though there isn’t any mention of such a title in FIDE Statutes or in any other official papers. I view this situation as contrary to all the rules of fair play.

FIDE is constantly trying to put the blame on me for canceling the Ponomariov – Kasparov match. I hereby want to officially state that neither I nor the Organizing Committee of the match had any authority to cancel it. The match was unilaterally cancelled by the FIDE president, Mr. Ilyumzhinov. Unfortunately, starting with the General Assembly in Bled, the FIDE board exclusively defended the interests of Mr. Kasparov, although, as an international organization, it should have been taking a neutral position, and should have guaranteed that the conditions are fair and equal for all participants.

It concerns me greatly that the players’ opinions are getting less and less consideration, and that the players are becoming mainly just a source of income for all kinds of officials who sponge on chess. The prize fund for the World championship is reduced by half, choosing Libya as a venue will result in dividing the participants into first-rate and second-rate groups. If we stand by and do nothing, the chances are it will keep getting worse.

I am not trying to hold on to my title whatever it takes, but I can’t put up with the absolute dictatorship of FIDE. I am ready to defend my title on the conditions that were clearly set at the time I won it. I ask you, my colleagues, for understanding. I hope that the Association of Chess Professionals will be able to change this complicated situation.

Sincerely yours,
Ruslan Ponomariov, World Champion.

Reading list

Ruslan Ponomariov He is still technically the FIDE world champion, but not for long. The next cycle begins in Libya in June, and the winner is to play Kasparov in Hanoi at the end of the year. There is no indication that Ponomariov intends to participate. The reunification match, should it take place, will be between Kasparov and the winner of the Libyan World Championship tournament. Here are the relevant links:


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